Ask the government? You mean Dad
The daughters of two senior politicians tell us what it is like to have a father who is in Parliament
EVER wondered what it is like to be the son or daughter of a minister or a senior politician?
As South Africans celebrate Father’s Day today, Independent Media spoke to the daughters of two prominent politicians.
Lethabo Motsoaledi, the daughter of Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, spoke about life with her father, whom she described as a demanding and uncompromising man.
“My dad is a very stern and honest man,” said the 23-year-old.
“When I was in my matric, towards the end of the final exams, I asked him, ‘Dad, will I get a car if I do well?’” He said ‘You can’t expect me to reward a fish for swimming.’ He’s always got a strict demeanour even in lightheartened situations.”
“He is very funny in a strict way and I think it is because his humour is so dry.”
Being a child of a minister can bring added pressure, but Lethabo commended her father for raising them “in a normal way”.
“The only pressure is to ensure my success is genuinely mine, and for me not live in his shadow.”
As health minister, Motsoaledi occupies arguably one of the toughest portfolios in government.
Lethabo acknowledged this meant he was almost always away from his family.
“When he comes home, you realise that he has a routine. He just wants to cook his special meal and then watch TV. With all of us wanting his attention, it is only fair for us to fit whatever we want to do into his schedule.
“For instance, I know that when my dad goes to read, my little sister will also grab a book and sit with him and also read. That is quality time.
“We have compulsory events that we have to go to.
“Like spending every New Year with him. He gets very upset when we don’t. I think one thing he did really well was instil the value of spending time with family.”
Lethabo sends messages of love and appreciation to her father for all the things he has done for her and the rest of the family.
“And a lot of my hard work and ambition is inspired by him.”
Tshepiso Phosa, the daughter of former ANC treasurer and Mpumalanga premier Mathews Phosa, said she had realised her father’s true stature only when she was at university.
“We knew what he did, yes, but never realised what calibre it reached. And I used to struggle a lot with him being so busy when I was a child. I never used to understand,” said the 26-yearold, entrepreneur.
“We were raised in a humble home. We grew up in Nelspruit and my mom tried to give us a very normal life. The more we understood what he does, the more we appreciated him.
“I then realised that South Africa needed him also and therefore are happy to share him with the country.”
She described her relationship with her dad as “always very close” and said a lot of her character had been influenced by him.
“He was very strict with us, especially about education. He always made sure that we worked hard before getting anything, and that taught us valuable lessons.
“I’ve learnt to never give up, to always stay focused and never allow anyone to tell me otherwise.”
She attributes her work
‘When we are at home he is just a normal father ‘ ‘I am happy to share him with the country’
ethic to him.
Tshepiso runs a filling station and daddy has the habit of dropping by to keep tabs.
“When we are at work, we all know it is time to be serious. But when we get home, he is a normal father. We can ask for advice from him, we go out for lunch and do other normal things together.”
The Phosas always make it a point to share breakfast and lunch. “I also exercise with my father. Even though I sometimes think he overdoes it.”
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and his daughters, from left to right, Mathabo, Lethabo and Modiegi.
Presidential hopeful Mathews Phosa and his daughter, Tshepiso, an entrepreneur who runs a filling station.