From politics to entertainment, dads who chart a course for their children, writes Marchelle Abrahams.When I grow up, I want to be just like my dad!
It’s a line that many of us uttered, often idealising the most important man in our lives.
Traditional roles may have prescribed these thoughts but even today, with many two-headed households, dad holds a special place of his own, often inspiring his kids to be the best they can.
Of course, sometimes dad is so fab, that we want to be just like him.
Famous father and child duos come in many shapes and sizes.
In celebration of fathers all over the world, we take a look at local dads who inspired their offspring to be just like them.
Racing is in their blood
GT racer David Perel, 32, started his professional racing career at the tender age of 15. His dad Robert, 62, has been his guiding light and the inspiration for taking on the motorsport world.
“I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps for a number of reasons.
“One being that he never had the opportunity to say he ‘made’ it in racing, and I wanted to fix that.
“When you’re a three-year-old kid, there is nothing cooler than seeing your dad as a pilot, an astronaut or a racing driver, and every time my dad used to drive us around, I was just so proud that my dad was a racing driver, it was the coolest thing ever.
“There was no question in my mind that he was the best driver in the world, and I wanted to emulate that and in some way – impress him. It was the same with his work ethic, my dad’s work ethic is still to this day the most intense I’ve ever seen.”
Taking over the reins
Bertho van der Westhuizen knows a thing or two about cultivating a great wine.
The person who taught him? His father Schalk, who is the original owner of Alto Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, who decided to hand over the reins to his son in 2015. Schalk crafted 15 vintages on the estate before passing the cellar keys to his son Bertho, who seemed unperturbed by the lineage of winemakers celebrated on the walls of the estate’s tasting room.
“They are very big shoes to fill, but every winemaker has their own way of doing things,” said Bertho, who studied Oenology and Viticulture at Maties before honing his skills at Citrusdal Cellars, Kleine Zalze and Boschendal.
“You must never forget your history, your heritage, but you must also be able to adapt.”
On his retirement, Schalk said the fact that his son has taken over the reins from him makes the parting somewhat easier, “but it still feels like a final farewell to a loved one, and that’s never easy”.
Like father, like son
Patrick Mckenzie, 64, started out in politics in 1978 and has been an active participant in South Africa’s democracy for 35 years. A former minister of police who started out as a councillor, it was only fitting that his son Angus, 35, follow in his footsteps.
“We grew up on Bonteheuwel (on the Cape Flats) but eventually moved out. But in moving out, my parents instilled the importance of where we came from. And that is why there’s always been a constant love for the area,” says Angus.
“The opportunity came up to be a ward councillor for Bonteheuwel and I grabbed the chance. I wanted to carry on the good work my father did, and I get the opportunity to make that possible and enhance it.”
Like father, like daughter
Actress Portia Joel starred with her famous father Cedwyn on the local TV drama Suidooster.
“It is wonderful that one of my three daughters decided to act as well, especially since my wife thinks that all actors are a bit ‘crazy’!
“At Suidooster, Portia and I have a professional relationship especially because it is important that she is an accomplished actress in her own right,” says Cedwyn.
“I’m really privileged to be able to share a passion with my daughter.
“It is amazing to be on the same television set every day.”
Portia says: “My dad definitely had a major influence on my choice to become an actress. His career had such an impact on me as a child and for me it was just a natural choice or evolution to follow in his footsteps.
“I am truly thankful that I have such a talented father – and I learned so much just by observing him as a father, human and actor.”