New film series explores why fathers matter in SA

Heartlines hopes to see 5 million men – and society at large – getting involved in the biggest campaign of its kind in Africa, aimed at encouraging fathers and men to be part of a movement of being positively involved in the lives of children.

South African NGO Heartlines, in collaboration with the SABC, is unveiling a new film series called Heartlines Fathers Matter that uses the power of story to support the positive and active role of fathers and men in the lives of children.

Can you imagine a South Africa where more fathers and father figures are positively involved in the lives of their children? What would happen if more and more men, uncles, grandfathers, sports coaches, Sunday school teachers, school teachers and others, play an encouraging role in the lives of children who have no father in their home?

The topic of fatherhood is an emotive one for many South Africans. Studies show that there are numerous benefits – for children, mothers and fathers themselves – where fathers are positively present in the life of a child. Father involvement has also proven to cause a decline in gender-based violence. While the narrative is already shifting, much remains to be done.

This is why Heartlines wants to inspire and encourage men – and society at large – to be part of a movement of fathers who are positively involved in the lives of children. The Heartlines Fathers Matter Film Series aims to serve as a catalyst for this with the first film premiering on Saturday 17 September at 20:30 on SABC2.

The six short films will be broadcast weekly (one at a time), over a period of six weeks, and will be supported by radio discussions around the fatherhood-related themes covered in the films. The films will also be available for streaming on the TelkomONE website or app.

Through compelling storytelling, the films explore the complexities around being a father – and being fathered. The short films star local actors such as Aubrey Mmakola, Mpule Matlhola, Ebenhaezer Dibakwane, Lebohang Mthunzi, Pascaline Phale, Jacques Blignaut, Tracey-Lee Olivier, Thuli Nduvane, Unathi Guma, Tshepo Maseko, Bradley Olivier, Lorcia Cooper Kumalo and many others.

While Heartlines is eager for the nation to see the films, it is even more excited to involve South Africans in the Fathers Matter movement.

“Changing perceptions and behaviours around fatherhood can only be done as a collective effort involving thousands, if not millions of South Africans. So much so that Heartlines hopes to see 5 million men, and several million women, young adults and children, get involved in the biggest campaign of its kind in Africa by watching the films and engaging in conversations on the topics broached in the films,” says Garth Japhet, the CEO and founder of Heartlines.

If you’d like to get a group together to watch the films, there will be discussion guides to help facilitate these conversations – visit the website for more information.

The first of the six Heartlines Fathers Matter films premieres on SABC2 on Saturday 17 September at 20:30.

Anyone who would like to be involved in reshaping the narrative about South African fathers can visit the Fathers Matter website for more information:


About Heartlines

Heartlines is a social and behaviour change organisation that encourages people to live out positive values. Heartlines does this through its projects, which include producing films and multimedia resources that aim to spark conversations around values, and equip people to live out these values. Heartlines further facilitates values-based training, workshops and motivational talks for companies, organisations and groups.

About Fathers Matter

 Fathers Matter is a Heartlines initiative to promote the positive and active presence of fathers in children’s lives. At the centre of the project are the Heartlines Fathers Matter Films – six anthology films set in various contexts around South Africa. Each short film is a compelling drama that explores the complexities of fatherhood in South Africa today, where most children grow up in homes without their biological fathers.

 For media enquiries or interview requests, please contact Lauren Hills at or phone +27 83 226 8906.