1890km Fisherman’s Redemption Run to promote involved fatherhood

Lamberts Bay fisherman, Marius Brown, will undertake a 1890km “Redemption Run” with the support of Sonke Gender Justice and the Department of Social Development, to raise awareness about the issues of absent fathers and the impact it has on children and society, by running from Cape Town to Durban and then participating in the Comrades Marathon. 

Marius Brown
Marius Brown

The 2016 Redemption run, which will start from the Cape Town City Hall on 16 April 2016 and end with the Comrades Marathon on 29 May, is a 43-day campaign to promote involvement and active participation of men in the lives of their children and partners, in response to the prevalence of absent fathers in South African society. Supported by Sonke Gender Justice and Department of Social Development, the campaign will also highlight the benefits of positive parental involvement to fathers, their children, their partners and to society.

Jean-Marie Nkurunziza (Sonke), Yvonne Jila(Mandela Washington Fellow & CRPP intern at Sonke), Suleiman Henry (Sonke), Marius Brown, Andre Lewaks (Sonke), Jeff Combe (Sonke)
Jean-Marie Nkurunziza (Sonke), Yvonne Jila(Mandela Washington Fellow & CRPP intern at Sonke), Suleiman Henry (Sonke), Marius Brown, Andre Lewaks (Sonke), Jeff Combe (Sonke)

South Africa has one of the highest rates of father absence in the world with one out of two fathers being absent from the lives of their children. “For the most part of my life, I grew up without an active father and so I vowed that I would never let my children feel that empty space. I remember how alone, lost and confused I felt after my parents separated following years of constant fighting,” says runner, Marius Brown.

Brown became estranged from his children following his divorce from his wife and a range of personal problems. Recovering from his troubled past, in 2014 Brown initiated his first Redemption Run in an effort to reach out to his children and start the healing process between them.

This year, on the Redemption Run, Brown will stop in six towns where he will share his story with a group of fathers, parents, guardians, government officials and community members. Sonke MenCare trainers will conduct training and dialogue sessions with fathers, families, communities, and government on involved fatherhood and how to be a better father or father figure.

“During the past  three years MenCare+ interventions have shown that fathers who attend these interventions are more open to gender equitable attitudes. After attending MenCare parenting groups, these fathers are also more open to supporting their partners and to engage in childcare duties. As a country, we therefore, need a comprehensive strategy to address father absence because research results show clear benefits for both children, women, and the economy if fathers become actively involved in the lives of their children and partners”, Says Andre Lewaks, Manager for MenCare South Africa.


According to a study on “live births” in 2014 by Statistics South Africa:

  • About 31% of mothers were recorded as being married, meaning it’s possible the father might be absent in the household or the child’s life.
  • Over 1.1 million births were registered, but 64% had no information on fathers, as not all birth certificates need to include info on the father.
  • One in every three children lives with both biological parents.
  • Research shows that the number of fathers, who were absent and alive, increased between 1996 and 2009, from 42% to 48%. Over the same period, the proportion of fathers, who were present, decreased from 49% to 36%.
  • Prince (2009), in research on the South African family, found that single mothers are raising about 40% of South Africa’s approximately 18 million children.

We invite everyone that supports Marius in his Redemption Run to join us at the start of his journey on 16 April 2016, at 10:00 at the City Hall, where we will cheer him off and show our support.

Official partners of the Redemption Run 2016:

South African Police Services: http://www.saps.gov.za

Catalyst Communications: http://www.catalystcommunications.co.za

Sonke Gender Justice: http://www.genderjustice.org.za

Department of Social Development: http://www.dsd.gov.za

About Marius Brown:

Marius Brown is a fisherman and father of three from Lamberts Bay along the West Coast of South Africa. On 13 January 1986, 15 year old Marius watched his only brother drown, helplessly, in front of his own eyes. As the years passed by, Marius struggled to accept his brother’s death and had a tremendous sense of guilt in his heart for not being able to save his brother.

Later in Marius’ life, he and his wife divorced – for Marius, his only escape was through alcohol. This was a dark time for Marius as he watched his entire life fall apart.

During the lowest point in his life in 2008, something miraculous happened in Marius’ life, which he saw as a turning point and is entirely grateful for. When returning to Lambert’s Bay Ian Roberts, a well-known South African actor and Barbara Snell, award winning producer and founder of Portal Films, offered him a role in their movie, “EVERYMAN’S TAXI’’. During this time, Marius realized how he has deserted his own children and how he has not fulfilled all the promises he had made to them. It was during this time that Marius knew he had to break out of his state of self-pity and addiction to alcohol and turn his life around for the better. 

About Sonke Gender Justice:

Sonke Gender Justice works to create and promote positive change for men, women and children so that each may enjoy equitable and healthy relationships that may contribute to the development of such a society. The project will be implemented by Sonke’s MenCare Parenting program. MenCare believes that gender-equal parenting holds benefits for men and men’s well-being; it promotes women’s and children’s rights, promotes sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), believes that transforming fatherhood will reduce gender-based violence, seeks the transformation of parenting practices to end violence against children, and supports non-biological parents and recognizes diversity in parenting.

Department of Social Development (DSD) Western Cape is supporting this campaign as part of its Provincial Strategic Objective 3 “Increasing wellness, safety, and reducing social ills. Strong families improve the life chances of individual family members. Services to families are rooted within the Family Strengthening Approach – a framework that recognises family as the most fundamental factor influencing the lives and outcomes of children; and that families are strong when safe and thriving neighborhoods and communities support them. The above objective is also linked to DSD’s National Outcome 11: “Creating a better South Africa and contributing to a better and safer Africa in a better world”.

DAY DATE ROUTE PLAN FROM CAPE TOWN TO DURBAN VIA N2 Garden Route- estimted distance 1800 km  KM
1 Sat 16 April 2016 Cape Town  to  Somerset-West 60
2 Son 17 April 2016 Strand  to  Kleinmond 55
3 Mon 18 April 2016 Kleinmond  to  Stanford 60
4 Tues 19 April 2016 REST DAY @ STANFORD  
5 Wed 20 April 2016 Stanford  to  Riviersondered 60
6 Thurs 21 April 2016 Riviersonderend  to  Swellendam 60
7 Fri 22 April 2016 Swellendam   to   Heidelberg 55
8 Sat 23 April 2016 REST DAY IN HEIDELBERG
9 Sun 24 April 2016 Heidelberg  to  Albertinia 67
10 Mon 25 April 2016 Albertinia  to  Mossel Bay 55
11 Tues 26 April 2016 Mossel Bay  to  George 55
12 Wed 27 April 2016 REST DAY @ GEORGE  
13 Thurs 28 April 2016 George  to  Knysna 60
14 Fri 29 April 2016 Knysna  to  Plettenberg Bay 35
15 Sat 30 April 2016 Plettenberg Bay  to  Stormsrivier 65
16 Sun 01 May 2016 Stormsrivier  to  Kareedouw 53
17 Mon 02 May 2016 REST DAY @ KAREEDOUW
18 Tues 03 May 2016 Kareedouw  to  Humansdorp 55
19 Wed 04 May 2016 Humansdorp  to  Thornhill 44
20 Thurs 05 May 2016 Thornhill  to  Port Elizabeth 55
21 Fri 06 May 2016 REST DAY @ PORT ELIZABETH
22 Sat 07 May 2016 Port Elizabeth  to  Amakhala Game Reserve 65
23 Sun 08 May 2016 Amakhala Game Reserve  to  Grahamstown 65
24 Mon 09 May 2016 Grahamstown  to  Peddie 67
25 Tues 10 May 2016                                               REST DAY @ PEDDIE  
26 Wed 11 May 2016 Peddie  to  King William’s Town 60
27 Thurs 12 May 2016 King William’s Town  to  East London 77
28 Fri 13 May 2016 REST DAY @ EAST LONDON
29 Sat 14 May 2016 East London  to  Komga 55
30 Sun 15 May 2016 Komga  to  Butterworth 53
31 Mon 16 May 2016 Butterworth  to  Dutywa 35
32 Tues 17 May 2016 REST DAY @ DUTYWA
33 Wed 18 May 2016 Dutywa  to  Mthatha 86
34 Thurs 19 May 2016 Mthatha  to  Qumbu 65
35 Fri 20 May 2016 Qumbu  to  Mt. Frere 40
36 Sat 21 May 2016  REST DAY @ MT. FRERE
37 Sun 22 May 2016 Mt. Frere  to  Mt. Ayliff 50
38 Mon 23 May 2016 Mt. Ayliff  to  Kokstad 40
39 Tues 24 May 2016 Kokstad  to  Harding 72
40 Wed 25 May 2016 REST DAY @ HARDING  
41 Thurs 26 May 2016 Harding  to  Port Shepstone 76
42 Fri 27 May 2016 Port Shepstone  to  Umkomaas 73
43 Sat 28 May 2016 Umkomaas  to  Durban 50
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