Gqoboka attaches some significance to the number one emblazoned on the back of his Bulls shirt
Lizo Gqoboka has attached some significance to the number one emblazoned on the back of his Bulls shirt.
The number represents a lot for the loosehead prop and rising Springbok front-row prospect as it also stands for what Gqoboka considers to be his main priority in life - fatherhood..
"It’s a massive responsibility‚ but one I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world‚" says Gqoboka.
Gqoboka was born near Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape and is now the father of two boys‚ a 12-years old and another aged 19 months.
But the 29-year old is also a "father" to his nephews and plays that role within his community through his foundation.
Even in the days when he had to endure hunger‚ months of unemployment‚ financial collapse and complete uncertainty about his rugby career‚ Gqoboka dutifully looked after his parents‚ supported his sister and brother and a young boxer in whom he believed.
He has never been afraid to assume the leadership role that comes so naturally to him‚ a role he believes is perfectly exemplified in fatherhood.
This is why he encourages fans to register themselves and their sons for the father and son campout at Loftus Versfeld from 28-29 March.
The event speaks to everything Gqoboka believes about the importance of fatherhood and the #BeAPresentDad movement.
It’s also a great opportunity for them to sleep in a tent on the main field of one of the most iconic rugby stadiums in the world‚ take part in a host of games and activities‚ and have their sons meet Bulls players‚ sports stars and celebrities.
"The Bulls are a family-orientated union and we all know how important the relationship between a father and son is. Your father is your immediate hero‚" said Gqoboka.
"I saw how my father treated not only me‚ but other children around him. We had kids staying with us that weren’t direct family‚ but they had lost their own parents. And he looked after them. So it wasn’t a foreign thing for me to do the same with my nephews when their father didn’t want to support them.
"They stayed with me and it just came natural to me to take care of them. It’s a massive responsibility because they look at me as their immediate role model.
"There are a lot of things you need to teach them‚ and some uncomfortable conversations in our culture that you need to have with them. But as a modern-day father you need to have these conversations."
Gqoboka’s deep faith is what keeps pushing him to make as much of an impact off the field as he does on it‚ and in the lives of the children in his care.
"I want to make sure they have good values.
"There is a verse in the bible I love which basically says you must teach your children the right way to go when they are young‚ and then when they are old they will not depart from it. That’s the responsibility I have as a father.
"Fatherhood changes you for the better. You become a better person. You become more selfless and and it brings you so much joy.
"It doesn’t matter how tired I am after training. When I come back home and open the garage and see my son standing there waiting for me‚ it’s those things that money can’t buy."