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Heal Men and Heal Society

Updated on August 11, 2015

Father a Nation (fan)

This is a powerful project that could perhaps help fatherless families and boys elsewhere.

Please talk about it - someone may start something, somewhere to help boys and out of work young men, not become another penal or social statistic.

I watched an interesting television documentary on an incredible local project, which I want to share with you, in the hope it may attract attention in areas where it may prove useful.

The message being :

"If we can heal Men, we can Heal Society".

Our society faces the double blow of having a growing population of orphans and a dwindling number of fathers and role models to underpin the emotional development of young children.

For many boys growing up without a father is a lonely, directionless passage to manhood. Mothers do try to fill the role but boys often need a father figure on whom to mold themselves.

Father a Nation or FAN solves a two-fold problem as the project takes young unemployed men and teaches them life skills, restores their confidence, and then sends them back, gainfully employed, into these communities. Here, they are able to mentor, act as role-models and surrogate fathers to the many orphan or child-headed homes.

FAN not only reaches out to the child headed household, but the programme reaches out to as many boys as possible nurturing from a tender age.

Listen to the Music while you Watch this Video from FAN

History of FAN

Johannesburg businessman, Craig Wilkenson started FAN in Bophelong, a community in the Vaal area of Gauteng, Johannesburg just over two years ago.

He believes that broken families cause most of today's social problems. His project has seen tremendous results, which he hopes will go a long way to rid South Africa of its social ills.

This social dysfunction applies to South Africa and also to America which is also bringing up a fatherless generation.

The women are there, he says, whether mother, sister, auntie, or grandmother, what's lacking is in the families is the men. However, by restoring the father figure back into the household, they bring back not only the strength, discipline, boundaries, and authority, but also the nurturing and caring that only a man can bring to the home.

There are strict requirements to join Father a Nation, as they deal in an extremely sensitive area, so young men are invited to apply for the job, they are then subjected to in-depth psychometric testing to ensure they do not have any pathologies or issues which would jeopardize children's lives.

The programme has transformed former petty criminals, who are determined to break the vicious cycle among young men.

Sexual crimes in South Africa follow the same pattern as in other developing countries, however, the incidents are twice as high, an indication of the disintegration of the fabric of our society, FAN is calling men to take their rightful place in being involved in the lives of their children.

Zwandile is a 16 year old, troubled youngster, battling to stay out of prison and avoid charges of petty theft and vandalism. He is growing up without, what most of us received, a parents' love and guidance as his mother died four years ago after battling a long illness, his father many years ago when he was still a toddler.

He says his mother was a gentle woman, and provided everything, now he is battling to survive or even to find shoes for his six siblings and their elderly grandmother. He is the man of the house, with no experience on which to build, and has too much responsibility for a sixteen year old boy.

He was on the verge of cracking until last year, Khotso and Tyron, from FAN, walked into his life. He now has people he can call brother or father. Zwandile's family is visited almost daily, to ensure they don't walk their difficult path alone.

As Zwandile is battling with Grade 8, his mentors take the time to go over his work, and help him to understand and learn. They are grooming a teenager they hope will grow up to be a balanced, responsible adult one day, an enormous challenge they are determined to overcome. The teenager says that Khotso and Tyron, pick them up from home and teach them to swim, sometimes they play soccer, or get involved in cricket coaching after school.

Khotso, from FAN, says: "These children don't have the family time, where they sit down together, discuss problems, break them down and get advice and guidance. We go through a lot of challenges with the family, social and educational challenges. Education is the key to their development."


FAN are hoping to see a growing trend of men being restored, and re-empowered to be real men. They want to dispel the myths of what men should be, like big-drinker, womanizer, violent fighter, druggie, metrosexual wimp. They believe that men are extraordinarily powerful, they have the ability to destroy and the ability to build. Chris Wilkenson says he is actively looking for men to build up, to be true men and pass that knowledge on to the next generation.

A true father is both a rock and a soft place. Solid dependable, safe, consistent and present, yet also gently, accessible, caring and nurturing.

FAN "If every man committed to just two things, being a true man and being a true father, the world would change radically overnight."

Deep inside each man, lost deep inside their masculine psyche or genes is the fundamental protecter, hunter-gatherer, adventurer, warrior spirit we lost and need back. Strong, dependable men who are not too metrosexually in touch with their feminine side, but rather with their gatherer protector.

There are other men out there who can create something similar in your city, as we all know, there is a real, heartbreaking need.

In rural South Africa, the saying goes "it takes a village to bring up a child", in rural America or England, the saying may still apply. However, it is in the cities where there is too much 'me' and not enough 'we', the pursuit of material gain too strong as we climb over each other to reach the top, where the fatherless families are drowning.

There is a need to make time for men to be men, to protect, nurture and gather up their family, invest and commit to their children, who are the future of their country, their nation and the world.


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    • poetryman6969 profile image


      3 years ago

      This sounds like a great idea and something that is sorely needed in may places in this world.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hello! kefdbaa interesting kefdbaa site! I'm really like it! Very, very kefdbaa good!

    • Darkproxy profile image


      6 years ago from Ohio

      I can attest no father figure in the teen years was lonely and slightly terrifying

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      6 years ago

      Motherbynature, it would be so wonderful if this project could be started in LA. It needs a big company to make it their good work drive. As to find the right men, evaluate, teach and then send them out to these families is a major commitment. Thank you so much for visiting, dry your eyes and pat yourself on the back, you are one of the lucky ones - a good, intelligent person with great family values in spite of your father not because of him.

    • Motherbynature profile image


      6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      This is beautiful. I wish there were more programs like this here in the U.S. I just watched a documentary called "Absent", which talks about the lifelong effects on men and women of having a physically or emotionally absent father. It had me in tears because my father chose not to be a part of my life and I am just now starting to identify the ways that his absence has altered my life. Great hub. I will definitely visit the FAN website.

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      6 years ago

      Izettl Thank you so much for visiting. This hub is so close to my heart, I just wish more people would read it! Your comments are so right on the nail! Thank you again.

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 

      6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      This is great- gave me goosebumps. As a society I think we are so concerned with rising women to the top that we forget who we've left I do believe men have a natural instinct to be, well, like men and same for women but everything is quite blurred in society today. I see more womanizer thugs and metrosexual wimps- not really as much in between. Sad. Love the project, love the hub.

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      6 years ago

      2patricias, Thank you for reading this, I was so hoping that a lot of people would read this and pass on the message. I feel quite passionate about this project, so very glad you took the time!

    • 2patricias profile image


      6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      This is such an interesting hub - voted Up and Awesome (as well as interesting).

      Here in England many families in economic difficult are single parent and usually fatherless. This scheme sounds brilliant.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Brilliant Article! What a powerful idea...

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      6 years ago

      Thank you yoginijoy, So glad you visited and also feel strongly about the project!

    • yoginijoy profile image


      6 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Wonderful and moving hub! I love how you are working to improve the lives of children by bringing attention to Father a Nation! I am so impressed with your dedication. Voting up and awesome. I am happy to learn about this organization.


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