With Father’s Day around the corner, it’s time to embrace those who have taken on the most important role in their lives – fatherhood! Springbok rugby players Elton Jantjies, father to EJ (8 months), and Lionel Mapoe, father to Zaiden (5) and Zarah (3 months), put being dads on the top of their biggest achievements list. GLAMOUR chats to these two well-known fathers about being a dad, a role model and an inspiration to their own kids.
Being a dad is one of the most incredible jobs in the world. How would you describe your experience as a dad?
Elton: It has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. As a dad, I am nurturing and protective.
Lionel: I’d like to think of myself as a good father. I give my kids love and attention although I have a busy lifestyle because of my career, which demands a lot of time away. I try giving them attention when I am around, although this is difficult as Zaiden lives in a different city. But I’d describe myself as an understanding, nurturing and kind dad.
How have your perceptions changed since you’ve become a father?
Elton: It’s no longer about me. It’s about this being that I’ve brought into the world and call my own. It has made me more aware of my life as a whole and I’ve become more grounded.
Lionel: You tend to put their needs before your own and it’s a sacrifice but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a sacrifice I’m happy to make as it benefits my kids and their upbringing.
It’s been said that being a parent is having your heart on the outside of your body. Has it made you more protective and aware of your surroundings?
Elton: From the moment he was born, I sensed a feeling of protection. Not only in terms of his safety but always wanting to make sure he is happy and well-cared for and has everything he could possibly need. You definitely become more aware of the dangers around you and will do anything to avoid that for his sake.
Lionel: Oh, indeed! At times, I wish I could monitor them 24/7. Zaiden already has a protective nature so I know that he can look after his little sister when they’re older.
What are your hopes and dreams for your kids?
Elton: I just want EJ to be happy, healthy and to grow up learning about all the greatest pleasures in life. I will support him as he gets older and encourage him to follow his own destiny. I want EJ to grow up knowing he has a family that loves him and will always be there to support him.
Lionel: I’d like nothing more than for them to have a great education, to be inspired to do well, and to see them follow their dreams and be happy. And I’ll do whatever it takes to help and support them.
What type of father do you aspire to be?
Elton: Supportive, kind, firm but fair, honest – and, hopefully, be his best friend.
Lionel: The best!
Show your own dad who’s the best with our pick of Father’s Day gifts to suit any dad.