Thapelo Mokoena talks parenting and back-to-school music with his boys
SA’s Thapelo Mokoena has travelled far. Today the self described ‘boy from the bundus of Ladysmith’ is an international film star, film producer and ambassador for Volvo Car South Africa.
He is also husband to Lesego Mokoena, and father to Lereko (five) and Lefika (two). Like dads all across the country, as lockdown eases Thapelo prepares to send his boys back into an uncertain world. For him, it’s an opportunity to connect.
“For me the pandemic has highlighted the importance of real connection,” says Mokoena. “Connection is the antidote to the isolation we’ve all been feeling.”
During lockdown Mokoena and his boys started a ritual that he plans to extend when the family gets back to the daily commute.
“At the end of our day I’ve been coming to sit in my car here at my house,” he says. “My boys join me and we bump up the music. For me it’s a chance to be a dad, to infuse my boys’ lives with music that means a lot to me. It’s an outlet for us and we love it.”
In honour of parents across the country Mokoena has chosen five tracks, each with a special meaning for him and his boys, which he’ll be blasting when all pile into the car for the daily back to school commute.
Tom Misch: ‘Movie’
“When I was a boy my uncle used to play old school RnB, which I did not enjoy. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve realised that because of him, today that music brings me peace. This Tom Misch track speaks to me like my uncle did, like a black and white movie, like memories. I want my sons to feel my peace, and one day when they’re older I hope they’ll look back as I do.”
Blaq Diamond: 'Woza My Love'
“Blaq Diamond are an amazing new act from Ladysmith, my own home town. They sing and rap in isiZulu, they are authentically themselves. For me their message is ‘be yourself, be beautiful, be love and happiness.’ I want my sons to feel that.”
Party Next Door: 'Believe It'
“This song is a straight-forward ‘Good morning!’ track. It’s progressive and full of good vibes. We get pumped listening to this. Believe it!”
J Cole: 'False Prophets'
“This is message music, the kind of hip-hop that makes you feel ‘now I have to be better.’ For me the message is that I’m just a farm boy. I grew up simple and I came to the city for one thing; to grind. My sons need to be way more careful than I was because they’re born in the city. They need to understand that not everyone is who they say they are, they need to look out for False Prophets.”
Bongeziwe Mabandla: 'Ndokulandela'
“This track is special to me for two reasons. One; the music is beautiful. Bongeziwe Mabandla is a true artist, a genius. Two; I lived with him when I was a drama student. He arrived in Melville from the Eastern Cape with just a guitar and somehow myself, MXO and he ended up in a flat together. To see his success today and to share his music with my sons is what this pandemic is all about; hope for a beautiful future.”