What does a modern South African father dream of for his children? SHIRLEY FAIRALL asked CARL UYS for his top three wishes
Carl (37) is the founder and CEO of Bowline Security, a cyber-security business, and grew up in Harding, a small town in KwaZulu-Natal. He and his wife Sam have a son, Malachi, who’s almost three (hear him laugh in the video at the bottom of this page!)
That sweet face! Carl’s son Malachi isn’t bad either…
‘I’M THE PRODUCT of a mixed race family going all the way back to my German great-grandfather and his Khoe-san wife, my great grandmother. My father’s an Indian Muslim whose family came from the Middle East. I continued the rainbow legacy by falling in love with a Zulu woman, my beautiful wife Sam. We now have our own version of a mixed race son!
Neither of us had active fathers during childhood and adolescence, so the role of father in our household is very important to both of us. I was lucky to have great female role models in my mother and grandmother, and lots of good aunts and uncles. In my late teens I found a father figure in a Zulu businessman and he influenced my young adult life.
When I look at Malachi, I am so glad he’s not missing out on having his dad in his daily life.
‘I’d like Malachi always to feel he can participate socially and economically,’ says his father Carl
There are three things in particular that I dream of for Malachi.
THE FIRST is to live in a world where he always feels that he can participate socially and economically. When I consider my background as a so-called coloured boy growing up in a poor rural town, it took a very long time before I understood that I had a social and economic role to play in this country.
SECOND, I know from my own experience of marriage that it makes a huge difference to have the right person alongside you, someone who values family and God, and is a good friend and confidant. I definitely want this for Malachi. The first time I saw Sam was through the window of the car dealership where she worked. I was looking for a new car but look what I got instead! I instantly knew she was the woman for me even though it took me two long years to convince her to go on a date with me. It was very tough but worth it!
And then there were three: Carl and Malachi with mother Sam
AND THIRD, I’d like Malachi to contribute to making the world a better place by using the gifts and talents God has given him. I’d like him to be an active citizen.
One way of modelling this for Malachi is by making the world a safer place in my profession as a cyber security practitioner. Another is by participating in socio and economic activism. Since 2002 I’ve been involved with a wide variety of organisations, including the Albert Park Youth Development Association, the Malachi Foundation (a soup-kitchen project), the Earth Organisation’s Pietermaritzburg branch (with Sam), Students for Law and Social Justice, the Kwazulu-Natal Community Crime Prevention Association, and Indigenous First Nation Advocacy South Africa (IFNASA).
I also volunteer as a leader on the Alpha course in my local church. Alpha is a safe space where people can connect, talk about the big questions of life and explore Christianity. It runs in most countries and across denominations. I am part of the Alpha for Prisons team and at the moment we’re running it in a local prison.
Malachi and parents out and about. ‘I’d like Malachi to contribute to making the world a better place,’ says Carl
Many inmates attend the Alpha course on a weekly basis and my interactions with them indicate that they want a sense of belonging. In my opinion, most of the inmates are in prison because the leadership and the love of a father was absent in their lives. When you don’t have a father to guide you, anger becomes your prison and you struggle with your identity and self-worth. On Alpha, many inmates find a sense of belonging, discover God’s love and gain a heavenly father who sets them free.
As a modern father I believe we shouldn’t leave our children searching to develop a relationship with us. It seems to me that a secure home, a safe community, a prosperous country and a less polluted universe are more likely when fathers are active in families and society.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads in the world. God bless you all!’