Sabelo Magagula won the Grow Great Dads Challenge that was aired on YFM from 2- 23 June 2020. Magagula won every single week’s challenge and the R10 000 grand prize. The Grow Great team caught up with the 24-year-old father to find out how he managed to win the competition and here’s what he had to say.

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What strategy did you employ to make sure that you become the Grow Great Dads Champion?

I was looking at the website every week. In week one I read about stunting. This was followed by the “supporting mothers”, “breastfeeding” and “complementary feeding” themes. I read all the articles that were posted on the website.

Is there anything you have learnt about raising healthy babies from entering this competition?

I’ve learnt a lot, I didn’t know anything about stunting and the first 1000 days. My friend recently had a child and I told him about that as well as breastfeeding, and that he also has to be there for his girlfriend because it’s hard raising a child alone. I also learned about the health benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby, especially that moms can breastfeed if they have the coronavirus as long as they take the necessary precautions such as coughing into their arms, disposing of tissues immediately after use and washing their hands for 20 seconds.

What did you enjoy the most about the Grow Great Dads challenge?

Challenging different fathers and getting new information every week. It would have been hard for me to challenge someone without having gone to the website first.

Would you encourage other dads to enter the competition?

Yes, because it’s not just a competition; you learn something from the challenge even if you don’t win. A lot of guys don’t know anything about pregnancy, stunting or breastfeeding so it’s a great platform for fathers out there to learn about all of these things.

How did your family react to you winning the prize?

The first time I participated, they didn’t know that I had entered the competition. After I’d won the first week, I told my brothers. I asked them to listen to the following week’s competition and by then almost entire neighbourhood knew about it. By the third week it was history [laughs]. I was shocked when I won the last one, because I was nervous. I was just happy that I had won for the previous 3 weeks.

Was there a point where you felt you might lose during this competition?

It happened with each question I was asked on air, but I trusted in myself and knew that I would win.

Have you thought about how you will use your prize yet?

I’ll be buying my son a lot of clothes for winter. I’m also going to help my cousin – she’s like a sister to me. She’s got three children, so I’ll be buying them clothes as well.

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What challenges have you faced so far with raising your child?

I was 19 when my girlfriend and I had our child. I had just finished school and wasn’t working so providing for him was difficult then. However, towards 2016, I got a job at Webbers as retailer, but I realised that even that was not enough so I told my parents that I was struggling and they’ve been helping me out ever since. In 2017, I decided to further my studies and now I’m finishing my third year in Accountancy at UJ.

What is the best part about being a father?

One thing I love about being a father is that I always wake up knowing there’s someone important in my life that I have to nurture and take care of. I want him to be a better version of me when he grows up. He’s the reason I’m proud of myself because I know I’m a great father.

How did you spend your father’s day?

I was home with my family. I also have a great father that raised me, so he was with me. I told him “Happy Father’s Day” and how great he is and we spent the day together.

What is the best way fathers can support their partners when it comes to raising babies?

As a father, you have to be there for your wife or girlfriend because sometimes women experience depression during pregnancy. If you’re not there, as a father, supporting her emotionally and physically she will be depressed.

What hopes do you have for your child when he grows up?

I want him to go to the kinds of schools I couldn’t go to, that’s why I’m working on my diploma so that he can have a great future. I had it rough growing up, so I want him to have a better education.

What advice do you have for young fathers in SA?

As you know, there are high levels of woman abuse and gender-based violence. Men should protect women, they shouldn’t rape or beat them. Father should love their partners because they play a vital role in raising children. We have to respect them.