Today fatherhood is this well-known actor’s biggest role. He talks about his decision
to set aside his successful soap career so he can be a full-time dad to daughter Sage
(7) and son Thyme (9)
By Betina Louw
LAST year Robert Bester, Zac of the soap
7de Laan, came to a crossroads.
He had been working in Joburg for six
years and the time he was away from his
family in Cape Town, along with his hectic
travelling schedule, was taking its toll. He realised family
was more important than fame.
Today his wife, Patricia, works full time while Robert
fetches the children from school and attends sport matches.
“I’m trying to make up for the time I lost with my
children. To tell you the truth I sometimes think they
wish their dad would go away for a while,” Robert says
with a laugh.
Although he’s not in 7de Laan any more (Zac moved
to Iceland), Robert is currently a regular in European
and American ads. He ensures he makes good use of the
freedom his new career aff ords him.
“I simply didn’t see my kids enough,” he says. “I could
come down to Cape Town only every second weekend
and missed so much of their lives I realised I had to make
The spontaneous relationship between Robert and his
children becomes clear during the photo shoot for our
front page. He patiently helps Sage pick up pebbles,
carrying them for her in his pocket.
The lines on his face are caused by laughter and not
frowning, he says. Th is is because of his decision to live
positively, to make his life more stress-free and to fi nd
balance between work and family.
“I’m so positive, even my blood group is O-positive,” he
jokes. “I used to be stressed. Now I make sure I stay calm.
I’ve retired, after all!”
Travelling between Europe and South Africa for ad
work brings its own stress, however. But he has learnt
to deal with it.
“I handle it by asking myself what’s the worst that could
happen. Th e bank could take your house and they could
take your car but then you could just start all over. Don’t
worry about the things you can’t change.
“If you’re tense the people around you will become
tense too. You’ll exude negative energy and other people
will pick up on it. Th at will lead to even more stress.”
It gives him peace of mind to sit outside in nature,
hear the bees buzzing and feel the sand between his
fi ngers. “Th e small things in life never cease to amaze
me,” he says.
As a model in ads he has the good fortune of being
away from his home and family for only short
stretches of time.
“Robert is extremely involved when it comes to his
children,” Patricia says. “He’s forever driving them
His father was “very strict”, therefore he tries
to fi nd a middle way. “I don’t mind if my children
make mistakes because you learn from your
mistakes. My children’s growth and development
fascinate me. Every time I look at their photographs
this strikes me yet again.
You have to spend time
with them. I would like my children to remember
me as a dad who was fair but also their friend.
“Loving your wife and children is important,”
he says. “It shows in your eyes. I think it’s the most
important thing that your child sees it in your eyes.”
The Besters enjoy their family meals at the dining
table – something that hasn’t always been possible.
At meal times the TV is switched off and each one
gets a turn to say grace.
“My children have freedom of choice when it
comes to religion and I don’t care which church
they go to.
It’s more important that they learn to
be grateful for what they have and to discuss those
things that cause them happiness or pain.”
Robert's 7 life secrets:
1. I definitely believe
in a Higher Power.
However each person
must take responsibility for
his own actions and you
have to try to get the fundamental
things right, such as
not causing another person
I also want to help my
children develop their own
sense of religion.
2. Cultivate good
habits until doing
so becomes a way
of life. Make it part of your
Look in the mirror in the
mornings and tell yourself
you’re unique – you’re the
best you. I’ve been doing it
for years. This way you develop
a positive mindset.
3. Don’t worry about
make the best of
It doesn’t matter
what you’re doing, it all
comes to an end. You
can try to lengthen your
life with a heart or liver
transplant but in the end
you still have to leave this
world. Therefore I try to
make the best of today.
4. Don’t be afraid to
love, listen and
It’s ironic that
many people appreciate
love only when it’s taken
away from them. Don’t be
afraid to shed a tear now
and again. When my darling
dog Daisy died I cried
like I did when my mom passed away.
5. Moderation is the
key to balance. To
balance the challenges
a successful career
and fatherhood bring,
your whole life should be
of food, alcohol, pleasure
and work should be in
6. Do things that
make you feel attractive
you feel good.
time on yourself and your
appearance is important
for your state of mind. We
love swimming in the sea
or lazing around the pool.
Our children can see that
Mom and Dad are not
ashamed of their bodies
and don’t have any
7. Find an exercise
routine and diet
that work for you
but don’t overdo it.
fit by exercising regularly
in the gym and the children
keep me on the run.
I eat as healthily as possible
and make sure I eat
enough fresh fruit and vegetables.
Now and again
we enjoy a fatty piece of
mutton. The children and
I go to the deli about once
a month where each of us
chooses what we want.
Then we veg in front of
the TV and eat until we
feel we’re popping.
don’t do this every day or
even every weekend. It’s
What upsets you?
I always wonder why people in
a lift will be friendly and hold
the door open for you but the
minute they get into a car the
fi ve metres around them turn
into holy ground.”
How do you relax?
“I love cooking.
I also like making
furniture from my
Who and what inspire
“A lot of people play a
role in my life. My father gave
me a strong foundation and I
will always be grateful for that.”
“Arniston in the
Western Cape and Tosca in North
“People can sense
what you’re feeling;
be aware of your
“Food is an art. You eat well when
someone cooks well. Some
of my favourites are venison,
biltong and mutton.”
This story originally appeared in the first edition of Pulse magazine. Buy the latest copy, on newsstand now, for more fascinating stories in the world of health and wellness.