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Meet Iain Thomas, the 36-year-old South African poet who is famous all over the world except in SA

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Interview:Steve Hofmeyr

2011-04-07 16:09
Steve Hofmeyr spoke to Sarie about the controversy that always seems to surround him as well as his many current projects.

The singer and actor is currently working on a film alongside fellow musician Bok van Blerk, while also starring in the cross-cultural fiesta that is Afri-Spaans- a production that debuted at this year’s KKNK.

The musical show sees the Afrikaans singer collaborating with Colombian songstress Marta Gómez and the show will be touring the country after the cultural festival comes to a close.

Below are extracts from the interview with Sarie. The full article (in Afrikaans) can be read here.

How did it happen that you and Janine got back together?

At one of the many tables outside court where we tried to settle, our insults to one another simply dried up. Our lists of damages are equally lengthy and we realised that the only people who were going to reap the benefits were the lawyers.

You have said that you love her dearly... is that true?

I have [said that]. I fell in love with two women (Janine and Natasha) and I lost both of them due to my own folly. I now have the chance to get one of them back. I don’t want to waste it.

Have you forgiven each other for everything that was said?

Yes. We cannot go forward without forgiveness. We still have daily arm wreslting sessions about who said what, but we can laugh it off now.

Did you expect such uproar about the U2 tickets?

Not really. This much attention for my bid to raise awareness around farm murders cannot be overlooked. I have to thank Bono.

Why do people think that you are a right-winger?

Because their definitions are outdated. I don’t think people are left-or right-wing anymore. On some issues for instance I’m right and on others I’m left. I prefer the terms "liberal" and "conservative". Both have valuable things to add to any conversation.

Tell us about the book you’re writing, Die Verste Uur.

It’s about a young man who gets the chance to time travel and then finds himself in the middle of the Anglo Boer war. As a result of something he does not do, the Boers win the war. I had to rewrite history a bit. It’s speculation, but it’s freeing. It’s actually a love story across the limits of time. [The book comes out in July.]

There are people who think you can do just as well in the literary world as you do in the music industry. Your thoughts?

No, the literary critics don’t seem to think so. To them I am just a jack-of-all-trades and a rugby song writer! But I have a lifetime of creativity with which to prove them wrong.

Your son Armand’s singing careers is taking off.

I am very proud of him. After six months it is quite clear that he and South Africa are ready for each other. He has a hymnbook full of melodies in his head. But when he’s off-stage I see him as part of the brain-dead generation. Were we also like that?

Did you recognise his talent at an early age?

No. I also didn’t believe him when he informed me of his plans. I am neurotic about chancers and also did not offer him any help. He recorded that entire album without me and really showed me what he was made of. So I said to him: Pack your bags, let’s see if you can tour.

And what about when he makes mistakes?

Certain mistakes we only discuss in private (false notes, women, etc) For the rest I put him in his place, right then and there. He has to learn to deal with it. And he does. I’m not a very touchy-feely kind of father.

Gossip publications are already targeting him.

I see it coming. But he learnt within weeks that you are not private in the company of anyone with a cellphone or a granny. It is incredible how strong people’s desire is to share any type of experience with others.

Do you (and Armand) have a good relationship?

A healthy relationship. Remember, I’ve only known him for a few years. I think it still seems less strange to him than to me.

Do you now share more interests?

When he was younger the only thing we shared was a DNA test.

Do people say that he wouldn’t have made it if he wasn’t your son?

People said I wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t for Agter Elke Man... It’s possibly true. But the attribute of a true star is not the breakthrough, but rather their staying power and the quality of their career.

How are things with your other children?

Charissa has finished studying and passed her graphic design degree quite well. Devon is a star sportsman at Affies and Sebastian and Benjamin are still very young. I actually speak about them as little as possible.

What is your relationship with Natasha like?

Cold. But we’re proud of our kids. We have a reasonable relationship amidst heavy divorce court rulings. After this, we will not be friends, but I’m not afraid to give in repeatedly if it means that it will influence the lives of my sons in a positive way.

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