What do we know about fathers in South Africa? What fatherhood roles should we be trying to encourage? These are some of the questions addressed in this, the first book to focus specifically on fathers and fatherhood in South Africa. The volume contributes to an emerging international literature on fathers, making the case, amongst others, for men to make a greater contribution to the wellbeing of children.\nOne of the central challenges facing researchers working on this topic is to distinguish between fathers and fatherhood. Many people equate a father with the man who makes the biological contribution to the creation of the child. Around the world, though, the term father is used to refer to many people who take on the role of father with respect to children, families and the wider community. This is fatherhood. In this book we argue that biological fathers should be encouraged to be close to their children and responsibly take on the fatherhood role. However, other men need to, can and should do this when the biological father has died, has abandoned or fails to recognise his children. We also argue that children benefit from the love, care and attention of men and that fatherhood should be given greater social credibility.\nFatherhood is understood in different and contested ways, which is why we have called this book, Baba. The term ‘baba’ is a polite form of address to an older African man. It suggests connectedness and a particular kind of protective and respectful relationship between a younger and older person. The content of the relationship is not specified. The biological relationship between baba and the person who is addressing him is also not defined. In this collection, authors examine fathers and fatherhood from many angles. In the first section, some of the major conceptual and theoretical questions are posed and an attempt is made to map the field. Writers address the following questions: How does fatherhood feature in the way men understand masculinity? How many men are fathers in South Africa? How did apartheid affect fathers and patterns of fatherhood? What is the role of poverty in shaping fatherhood? How do experiences of fatherhood affect the parenting practices of South African men? What do children want from their fathers?