As a father, being truly connected with your son is far more complex than ever before. And that’s exactly why Abey Mokgwatsane, the Vodacom Managing Executive Brand and Communications, has developed a deliberate and focused fatherhood strategy when it comes to his own son.
From being connected via technology to connecting with his son at events like the upcoming Kaizer Chiefs and Vodacom Red Father and Son Sleepout, Mokgwatsane is using all avenues to be a hands-on father.
“Technology is evolving every day and we need to be on our toes all the time about the good and bad aspects of that evolution,” says Mokgwatsane, who will join 100 other fathers and their young sons at the inaugural Kaizer Chiefs and Vodacom Red Father and Son Sleepout this August.
This 31 August experience, which is exclusive to Vodacom Red clients, will see Kaizer Chiefs’ fathers and their sons connect with their beloved football club like never before as they camp out in style at the Kaizer Chiefs Village at Naturena. The clear message from Vodacom as a “Brand with a Purpose” is to give fathers and sons quality time with each other, under the hashtag #BeAPresentDad.
But it’s also going to showcase how technology can play a positive role in 21st century parenting.
From a technological perspective, the event will showcase Vodacom’s V-Kids Watch, a smart device that allows parents to track their child’s location. Up to five family members can use their smartphones to pinpoint the child’s exact location with Google Maps or Apple Maps, and receive notifications if the child leaves pre-set safe zones, making it the perfect peace-of-mind solution for any mass participation event.
For Mokgwatsane, the event and the technology involved is the perfect connection to what it means to #BeAPresentDad.
“I think we’re bringing together a passion point, which is soccer and which a lot of fathers and sons enjoy together, with us actually making a statement around how them connecting with each other is going to make the world a better place.
“Technology enables us to have much more of a blend between work and home life. That’s important these days because there’s not just the issue of you being connected to your children, but there are also so many things that are connected to your children than there were 10 or 20 years ago. On the Internet alone your children have a connection to so many things that are beyond your own viewpoint. So I have a very open channel of communication with my son, from the understanding that he is being bombarded with a lot of communication on a daily basis.”
“So I need to make sure that I balance this out with my perspective and I constantly get feedback from him from what he’s seeing in the world. I’m finding technology also helps to integrate my son into my work life, which I’m really enjoying.”
Sport is an obvious connection point for Mokgwatsane and his son, which makes Kaizer Chiefs and Vodacom Red Father and Son Sleepout such a perfect fit for him and so many fathers.
“I want to expose him to children from different backgrounds, some of whom will be sons of professional footballers. I’d like him to get a perspective of those different lives. I also want to expose him to a part of my work. I want to show him that my work is not just about cellphones, data and airtime. It’s also about bringing fathers and sons together. I want him to understand the greater purpose of our brand.”
In a world that is making multiple connections with children through a multitude of devices, good old-fashioned dad still remains the most powerful device in terms of shaping a young boy’s future.
This article was published in partnership with Vodacom.