Lereko Mfono

Creating social spaces for dads to connect with their children

General , Being a father

On 30 April 2022, Melusi Tshabalala, author of Magenge & Melusi’s Everyday Zulu, launched his third book, Gogo Magic and her Magic Food Truck for tweens and early teens. What was special about the launch was that took place at Melusi’s own pop-up eatery, a food truck, called Gogo Magic.

I recently spoke to him about his work and he explained that the idea behind the eatery is to have an outdoors place where fathers can bring their children, watch them play, read books with them and have a hearty meal together, while connecting with other fathers. This took me by surprise because there are not many social places created with fathers in mind.

I asked what inspired him and Melusi explained that he’s seen a need for fathers to know that it is good to connect with each other, and it’s important to normalise fathers spending time with their children publicly. In a society where absent fathers have been the norm for decades, it’s essential to challenge this by actively creating spaces like his that encourage active father participation in their children’s lives.

The eatery serves hearty traditional meals inspired by Melusi’s cultural heritage, including amanqina, iskobho, istambu, amagwinya and, my personal favourite, which I had when I met with him, mogodu!

At the eatery, I saw many fathers introducing their children to these traditional meals and the concepts behind them. The kids were mesmerised, asked a lot of questions and went on to play, enjoying the company of other children. It was so inspiring to see how simple and easy it is for fathers to connect when careful thought has been put into encouraging them to do so. The eatery is not just for fathers, it’s for families, individuals and anyone looking for a spot to enjoy tasty meals. You can find Gogo Magic at Action Park, Cedar Square Shopping Centre in Fourways, Johannesburg every Saturday from 12pm till late.


Lereko Mfono

Lereko Mfono is the Project Coordinator for Fathers Matter.

He is a multifaceted creative, with a background in drama, writing and facilitation. He is passionate about the transformation of mindsets through story and media.

Featured

Thabang Mokoena

You can still be a good dad when you don’t live with your child

Read more

You may also like

Meet the director of one of Heartlines' new films

Meet Rea Rangaka, the director of the first film in Heartlines' new Fathers Matter film series. Rea has extensive experience as a director and co-producer in South Africa and the USA, and has won a number of local and international awards for his work.

Read more

Reforming the idea of fatherhood

A group of men at a correctional services facility in Paarl, in the Western Cape, is exploring ways they can be different fathers to the ones they had growing up and how they can be present and positively involved in their children's lives. 

Read more

'I thought I could get through to my child by beating her up'

Peer pressure, unemployment and generational methods of discipline have led to frustrated fathers in Alex seeking new ways of parenting.

Read more

The Fathers Matter team is growing

Lereko Mfono and Nkosinathi Sixabayi joined Heartlines’ Fathers Matter project at the beginning of November. Lereko in the role of Project Coordinator, and Nkosinathi as the Church Lead for Fathers Matter.

Read more

How fathers can pass on values to their children

Watch this sermon by Heartlines Senior Programme Manager Brian Helsby as he looks at the impact of absent fathers and what the church and Christians can do in response.

Read more