De Aar Mentoring Programme

De Aar is a small town in the Northern Cape with a great deal of poverty and the dubious distinction of having the world’s highest level of foetal alcohol syndrome.  From June 2016 FAN ran a one-year programme aimed at transforming 50 men and 50 women from the communities worst hit by poverty and gender-based violence in De Aar.

The intervention involved high-impact weekend camps, training workshops and hands-on mentoring. The result was a significant shift in many of the participants, which follow up meetings during the year-long intervention confirmed had a positive impact on their families and immediate community.


The goals of the intervention were:

1. To create a significant shift in the way masculinity is perceived in the community and what constitutes acceptable behaviour for men.

2. To empower women in the community with the knowledge and skills to reject unacceptable masculine behaviour.

3. To transform the behaviour and attitudes of a significant group of men in the community so that they can lead and maintain a shift in thinking and behaving.

4. To restore and equip a significant group of men to be fathers and mentors.

The goals of the intervention were:

1. To create a significant shift in the way masculinity is perceived in the community and what constitutes acceptable behaviour for men.

2. To empower women in the community with the knowledge and skills to reject unacceptable masculine behaviour.

3. To transform the behaviour and attitudes of a significant group of men in the community so that they can lead and maintain a shift in thinking and behaving.

4. To restore and equip a significant group of men to be fathers and mentors.

These testimonies from the men who attended the programme speak to its effectiveness in bringing about positive change in their and their families’ lives:

I so wished that my dad had an opportunity like this for his life. What a different life I would have lived. I have been blessed by being part of the FAN PROGRAMME. I have hope for tomorrow that I will be a better man to all man. My journey has begun!

Shawlin Nyl

“The program is a fantastic experience. It is challenging but with it I have learned a lot of things I never knew. I have had a great process and I am slowly applying it to my life. As an elder I am applying it to my home life and relationships. For me it was beautiful to see how men get rid of the past, receive the healing and commit to a healthy, prosperous and exciting life in future. I thank you.”

Cedrick Muller

“As a young man on camp I have learned a lot about my life. Men who are older than me taught me a few things. I learned to listen and love others. My self-confidence has been built up and now I can stand among men. I learned about respect and discipline through the processes. At the washing of the feet I somehow experienced an inner peace. My feet felt refreshed so much so that it affected my body positively. I am so grateful for the opportunity and impact the staffmen invested in my life. I have made it and as a young man I look forward to a fruitful life ahead.”

Ian Arries

“This FAN PROGRAM taught me how to be a real man, father and partner. A real man doesn’t lie and cheat. He shows love and compassion. I have learned to let go of the hatred of the past and to be present and positive. This process shows how you can divide your time so you can spend time with your children. I now make time to know what’s happing in my child’s life; His likes and dislikes. I am observant and listen to them. I now look at their body language to look for positives or negatives to see how they feel. I have learned to show them empathy. I now protect my children against addictions or any negative life challenges by talking with them. I also understand that I must provide not only financially but with love.”

Eugene van Staden

“I am very thankful that I have experienced the program. The camp has been a revelation to me but also something that needs to be applied in life. After the camp I have slowly implemented certain changes to my life. I feel calmer, more patient and I am able to be a father and husband to my wife and children. It has really challenged me as a man so much so that I am now going to physically see my father for the first time. I have been communicating with him since the camp. I feel relief and a sense of victory that I could overcome these challenges that has been hurting my family. I thank you all for your commitment to bring change in De Aar. Sunita Theo’s wife has been so thankful to the Lord for the change in Theo’s life. He is more patient and understanding and does not run away from his challenges. He treats her and the children with dignity and respect. The camp has really brought a change and peace to their home.”

Theo Pieterse

“The camp was very fulfilling and it was like I was giving birth. I was delivered from many things. I was healed but believe that it is a process. The processes were challenging my inner man, my fear but I overcame some. I know this is a journey and realise that I can now be patient with myself as I grow as a man. The camp was a holistic healing of my soul. I am excited for the future and believe I will be a man among men. I also would like to be involved part time in sharing this wonderful program with De Aar. I have been on camps, but this one has really connected with me. It has left something beautiful in life. I am very grateful to all men who assisted me.”

Nathan Louw

“On this programme I learned what it is to be a man and to communicate with people. I learned how to be a man who is in control of his feelings and how to problem solve challenges. I learned to forgive myself and others. I have come to understand to love my family and those I interact with. I am now confident to give people good advice. I have applied the training of Dad program to my family. I have asked my son to forgive me and I now can see changes in my family. I am now confident that as I work on myself concerning my family I will make the right choices and bring joy to my home. Once there was strife, hurt and misunderstanding, but now I see happiness. I find that I am able to help other men again. I have a trust again for men to keep my stories and help each other solve problems.”

Sam Plaatjies

“I will now guide my child with healthy things for life. As a father, I will protect my children from bad things in the community. I will now spend time with each of my children and be positive with them. To help them to discover their identity will help me be a better husband and father.”

Phumzile Nyangintaka

The journey is ongoing because I have learned that it’s like my destiny. This is my healing, who I am supposed to become. I now know how to start properly for my future. Now I can see myself as healthy confident proud and wise man among other men in my community. As a truthful man, I have observed how men have been locked away with potential and with hurt. I’ve been through a lot in life but this program has helped me to heal. I have discovered the fears of the past and ran constantly from it but now as a man I face it. I learned to trust even those who betrayed me in my family and ask for forgiveness. I have healing because of the experience I gained. It’s a process but I believe I will make it. I realize the man of the past compared to who I am now is a massive difference especially concerning my family and the dad I’m supposed to be.

I now also understand circumstances which never bothered me. I thank all the Men of the program for their efforts to help us discover ourselves. At last I am bonding with my children which is my priority now. All this I have learned at men’s program and I am excited to hear from others if I am making an impact to others’ live. This is really something I want for all men to have in De Aar. I will make a difference in their lives with what I got.

Shawlin Nyl

The program is tough but very informative. There is such a lot of good things that I never heard about for my life but now I have a new sense of peace since being through these processes. It has challenged me as a man and then as a father and husband. I will definitely use what I’ve received and it will impact others I meet.

Xolani Nogqala

I have experienced something wonderful things in the program. To understand who a real man is at home and in the community. I have spoken to some young men about knowing the wound we carry and what the camp did for me. They are excited to go the next camp. The workshops mean much to me because I can be of help in my old age teaching young men how to be a dad to their children. I also have been trying to mend my relationships with my family members, but it’s difficult. I also see the things I have struggled within me for years have now been opened up for me. To live the rest if my life positively. I am now experiencing such a sense of fulfilment that things are beginning to look up for me. I am a man among men! After the camp and weekly programs, I believe I am not alone with my problems. When I experienced the trust fall I fell into men’s arms who I can trust. I had trust issues but found strength in other men. I can really trust God for my life. The weekly workshop s has challenged me to look deeper in my life as a family man.

Frans Julies

“The process was very good for me. It was great and I learned something very special. It was hard but I gained strength by learning from others and I am still learning. We were inspired to understand what a real man and dad is. I was on many programs but this program has really caused us to examine ourselves and become men of substance, men of worth. I understand how to deal with every member of my family. This program has changed my life. I want to see families and communities changed. I want to see the men of De Aar transformed. I thank God for using all the men.”

Jerome Booysen

When one hears about camp then we think of fun and excitement. First night I almost left because of the staff men’s approach. But as things continued I realized that these men were angels with a blessing. I learned about morals and ethics. I am not alone in my struggles. That it’s about stopping the abuse we deal others and oneself. Finding peace when I dealt with the inner child, the child of the past that was wounded. I want to live a responsible life and be a true man. I thank you for the special weekend.

Jakob Grenswil

“I am so glad I made the choice to go to the camp and training because it has changed my idea of being a stable man. I had many bad habits but believe the process has challenged me to change. I do things differently today. The training is my breakthrough. I now want to help other men and would like to learn to do camps especially the work Theo does. I am confident I can do it. I know who I am today and with knowing that I can do the processes. Today I am a different person. This process is changing my life where I now believe I can also assist parents of the community with their role as parents and for children to respect the parents and elders. I thank God. Thank you for what you gave me.”

Daniel van Krattenburg

“I learned a lot about life. I was angry with my father who did not stand by me. I had dreams but my father was not present in my life. As a man amongst men man honest man. I have learned how to apply this affirmation to my life. I have forgiven my dad who wounded me. I forgave him because he was also wounded. I learned a lot at the workshops with the tools that was shared about being a hero to my children, one who is in tune with them and their needs. I am grateful.”

Venus Baartman

“What an experience I had! The camp has built me up. I have found what I was looking for. My future will be different because I have received knowledge that I must apply to my life so that my family and community can benefit. I have grown up now to think as a man and be a blessing especially to my family.”

Andrew Webb

“The program has really inspired me. I have learned respect and be honest with myself. I am glad we dealt with my wound and I now feel liberated. On coming home and being with my family they said they can see change in me. I explained that I have to be a real man. I have thought a lot about trust. I have experienced something on the camp about trust and believe a man must be trustworthy. The workshops have challenged me as a dad because I will be having my son soon. My girlfriend and I sit with my notes finding it very interesting for our future life. I really want to go further with this process. I want it for others also. I am very confident that the men now stand with me and I am not alone.

Visit: We met with Dillon and his mom Katrein. She has found the changes in Dillon very refreshing. “As a young man, he knows who he is as a man. I am happy to see his life change. He and his dad is continually discussing what a real man is. He shares and does his affirmation regularly,” she shares laughing. “Since he and his girlfriend is expecting a baby, they are constantly going through the Dad book notes. I am glad my son has found a program that brings gradual change to his life. I am very grateful!”

Dillon Phakama


Ways to get involved in FAN’s mission:

• Invite FAN to run a workshop for the staff in your company or organization.

• Sponsor a programme in a community or school of your choice

• Sponsor the printing of gender-based violence booklets (which can be branded for your organisation).

• Make an “in-kind” donation (contact FAN for a list of needs).

• Make a donation of any size– all contributions receive a Sec 18a certificate for tax.