"I am making it without you, dad" : fatherless female students.
Zulu, Ncamisile Thumile.
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Historically, the awareness of the influence of paternal absence on females was largely overlooked by society. In contrast, maternal presence was acknowledged as the most important parental influence for a child’s growth and development. This is particularly true within the Black South African context where fathers were constructed to be “breadwinners” who stayed in the city for work, leaving their children behind in the rural areas in the care of their mothers (Lesejane, 2006). The South African literature that has recently risen on the issue of paternal absence has been primarily focused on the outcomes of father absent boys. The influence of paternal absence on Black females remains largely unexplored by researchers. This social constructionist study was conducted with Black South African father absent female students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus in 2014. From the perspective of resilience theory blended with the traditional African metaphysical framework, the study intended to contribute to filling a gap in literature by presenting the discursive tools (i.e. the meanings conveyed through the use of language and interaction) that Black South African female students employ when portraying their lives of growing up without a father. Five women participated in this study. Collectively, the participants constructed themselves to be resilient to victimisation that was due to fatherlessness. The women portrayed themselves to be self-sufficient and empowered in relation to their identities, academic performance, relationships and attitude towards men, career and future prospects. These findings offer new insights to literature pertaining to paternal absence. The findings also aid in valuing a different way that some Black females construct their lives of growing up without a father.