A father’s image in my young mind resonated with strength.
I envisioned a heart as warm as the summer sun, and a personality as soothing as the calm sea.
When it comes to protecting his family, he stood fearlessly, Alpha- like.
To the fortunate ones, that title is used carelessly and without understanding.
Some of us only hear stories about our fathers but we have never even seen his face.
When asked to spell ‘Father’ in a Spelling Bee the only thing that we could spell would be ‘M-O-T-H-E-R’ because she is the only guardian that has been there.
When I was nestled in my mom’s womb, the second most beautiful melody I have ever heard was my father’s heartbeat.
I knew the sound of his voice. It was not soft like mom’s but it was definitely the sound of a protector. The soft growl at the end of each syllable acted as a shield.
For some of us the story ends there because our fathers disappear after we are born.
Some of us don’t even get the privilege to experience all of this because the night after ‘contributing’ their seed, they go MIA.
Father’s Day isn’t just another special day on the calendar where dads get gift bags stuffed with the latest ties and socks.
It is a day when children get to appreciate their father’s presence in their lives.
To some fathers, out of the 365 days in the year, Father’s day is the only day that they get reminded of their roles in our lives as providers and protectors.
On this special day, TYI chats to celebrity Super dad, Thapelo Mokoena about fatherhood…
P.s. Cutie pie baby Irish Lereko is the son of Thapelo Mokoena and Lesego Tshepang Mokoena.
“The best Father’s day gift is the reason to be called Father,” says Thapelo Mokoena.
1. How was your relationship with your dad growing up?
Growing up, I had an amazing relationship with my father. I always observed my father as a business man. To watch him working hard, he was home and sometimes not at home due to business but I always knew that all the hard work and effort was for us. He did it for us.
As a young man looking at this grand statue of a man. One thing that I admire from my dad until this day is that no matter how hard the situation was he always made a way.
Through watching him I learnt that there is always a solution to every problem.
2. What does your child’s name mean to you?
To us, Lereko means God’s Abundance. His second name Irish is his late grandfather’s name. We gave him the name to motivate him, a name that will have meaning.
He’s an amazing kid…
3. What is the most memorable moment you have shared with your child?
The most memorable moment with my child is the thought that every time I go back home, there is always someone waiting for me with a grand welcome. It’s just priceless.
I always remember how much he loves when I tickle him. Whenever I get home he is always waiting for me at the door, waiting for me to tickle him. He runs away and I have to chase him, there’s always that special thing between me and him.
Although I might be tired after work, I know that I can’t skip this routine because it is a special time between me and him.
4. How do you juggle a career and being a dad?
What option does a dad have?
Dads have to be working dads so that they can provide for both their kids and families.
The secret is to make time for your career and your kids.
It’s a constant struggle especially if you are not working a 9-5 job but I make it work because as much as my career is important, my family is as important.
The little bambinos don’t want your money or presents; they just want your time.
I juggle both with great difficulty but I fight to make sure I have time for him and my wife. We are a family.
Like I previously mentioned, a great lesson I learnt from my father is that, “There is always a way,”.
Its not really about me only but it’s both my beautiful wife’s effort and my effort. Even though it means travelling with my family during business trips I do it, so that I can spend time with them.
5. Do you think dads should be more hands on with regards to a child’s upbringing?
Yes, of course! It’s important that dads become hands on with their child’s upbringing because society is broken. Kids become broken if they are not raised by both parents.
Some dads are distant. Some are there but they aren’t really there. This shouldn’t be the case. It is our responsibility as parents to make sure that we are there for our children every step of the way.
6. Advice to dads and their demanding jobs?
Every man for himself. We all have different circumstances, different backgrounds, different lives, different careers. So everyone should man his way and make sure that the child doesn’t suffer the repercussions otherwise it is very unfair for the kid. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that you brought this child into this earth. You set it up- whether you planned it or not.
You come up with a plan for this successful story, because it needs to be a success story.
7. How do you bond with your child?
We are outdoors most of the times. We take walks, we definitely make sure that we go hiking, I like outdoor stuff and he’s a child. He must be stimulated by that kind of stuff. I really don’t want to limit the opportunity for my child to spend time with us.
8. Share your best Father’s day recipe with us?
I don’t cook… I will eat anything my family makes for me on Father’s day. I enjoy eating my wife’s home made ribs, drinking fresh juice or Nescafé, and idombolo as a dinner meal and meat. I love meat.
9. What is the nickname that your child calls you?
He is still young. He just started his first two words. He calls me, ‘Daddy…Daddy…Daddy’. He also just figured out how to say ‘Mom’.
10. Top 3 rules that baby Reko (Lereko) knows not to break?
Hahahahaha! He is still a baby, only 3 years old. The rules that I make are broken anyways.
Thapelo Mokoena is busy working on the first edition of his series of talks. #BookYourFirstGig is aimed at assisting new comers in the acting/ presenting scene to master all the hecks of booking their first gig.
Catch him as Uhuru on eTV’s drama Broken Vows.
Did you know?
Thapelo Mokoena will be launching brand new adventure utility bags called ‘POINT 65’ that will be distributed in Southern Africa.
“We are excited to bring this amazing product that protects your back & items at the same time,” added Mokoena.
To the LIGHT in my Life & the most amazing wife Mama Reko @lesego_tshepang. Happy Mothers Day to you my Lady, Thank you for the gift of a son in Reko. Looking forward to a squad in future *nopressure* 👀 I smile to myself every time I think of how lucky I am to have you in my life and as my rock. A woman of essence is exactly what I dreamt of & wished for in a wife, God went & called my wish. I’m grateful. You are loved #MmeMokoena #Mbokodo #Powerhouse #RockSolid #Rock #Soldier #Queen #AfricanWoman #skeem #Sego ✊🏾💛💚❤️🏴