‘That’s my son’: Deputy minister Pinky Kekana a proud mom as Bafana defender brings Afcon medal home

15 February 2024 - 14:49
Deputy minister in the presidency Pinky Kekana and her son, Bafana Bafana defender Grant Kekana, celebrate the team's strong showing at Afcon 2023.
Image: Pinky Kekana Deputy minister in the presidency Pinky Kekana and her son, Bafana Bafana defender Grant Kekana, celebrate the team's strong showing at Afcon 2023.

Not every mother lives to see their son fulfil dreams of showcasing their talent on continental stages. Deputy minister in the Presidency Pinky Kekana has been beaming with pride after her son, Bafana Bafana defender Grant Kekana, was part of the national squad that reached the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) semifinals, a first in 24 years. 

The national team returned from Ivory Coast on Wednesday and showcased their bronze medals in front of hundreds of soccer fans at OR Tambo International Airport. One of Grant's first stops was visiting his mother and having a proud moment with his family. 

“My family and I welcomed home my son, Grant Kekana, a defender in the Afcon. As a proud mother and South African citizen, I extend my utmost pride to the team for representing our nation with distinction. May this success mark the start of many more achievements,” she said.

The deputy minister has not been shy to show love for her son during the tournament. In an interview on the state of the nation address (Sona) red carpet, she told Newzroom Afrika she wore a white dress to show she was at peace after Grant received a red card during a heated game against Nigeria. Kekana was ousted from the game in the 115th minute and missed the game against DR Congo. 

“My son got a red card, and he took it not for the team but for SA. I am happy with Bafana’s performance. They are coming so right. Thanks to the coach and government for supporting our boys,” she said. 

Grant showed appreciation for his mother's love as well, describing her as his “rock and first supporter”. 

“I always call her imbokodo because she has been my rock. She is the only person who has ever bought me soccer boots, the first person to believe in me and allow me to chase my dreams,” he said. 

Having a mother who was a teacher, the Sundowns player said she was always stern about him finishing school before pursuing his sports career.

“The only thing she wanted from me was to finish school because all her siblings struggled to finish school. She has always been in my corner and has been my No 1 supporter.” 

The son and mother have a good relationship, although Grant said they sometimes have disagreements. 

“As much as it looks good on camera and stuff, we are always fighting — and it is because she always wants the best for me. I am just happy she was happy. I know she told all her colleagues, ‘my son’ this, ‘my son’ that. It is good that one is just able to show her that all the belief [she has] shown me through the years, this is what it has come to.

“She has been calling me every day saying, You guys can do this, you are making us proud.’ It is good to hear that because she started this journey with me, and for her to see me on the continental stage doing my thing, I think she realises that all the sacrifices she had done for me paid off.”