Celebs you didn’t know had SA roots

2013-07-26 10:47
Cape Town - Have you ever watched an American TV show and was like "I know that oke from somewhere"? Well chances are very good that you actually sat next to that guy in high school and had no clue that he would one day become "that hot guy from Glee".

Here are a few celebs you probably didn't know had South African connections. (We obviously didn't include the well-known ones like our golden girl Charlie, mummified mister Vosloo, alienhanded Copley, etc.)

J.R.R. Tolkien:
Tolkien was an English writer, poet and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. He was born on 3 January 1892 in Bloemfontein in the Free State. His parents had left England when his dad was promoted to head the Bloemfontein office of the British bank for which he worked.

Dean Stanley Geyer:
Dean  is a South African Australian singer-songwriter and actor who finished third in the 2006 season of the talent show television series Australian Idol, and has had a notable role in the Australian soap opera Neighbours as Ty Harper. He joined the cast of the US show Glee in the 4th season as Brody Weston. He was born in Johannesburg.

David Matthews:
Dave is a South African-born American singer-songwriter, musician and actor,best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band. Dave was born in Johannesburg. At age two Matthews' family moved to Yorktown Heights in Westchester County, New York, where his father, a physicist, started working for IBM.

Sienna Miller:
Sienna was born in New York City and  moved to London with her family when she was just over a year old. Her mother, Josephine, is a former South African model.

Charlie Siem:
Charlie is an English contemporary classical violinist. He was recently interviewed by the well-known fashion magazine, Vogue and also entertained Lady Gaga at a private function in New York. Charlie’s mother is from South Africa. She was born in Johannesburg and lived in Cape Town. His grandfather is from Bloemfontein. His father is Norwegian billionaire Kristian Siem.

Roger Federer:
Roger was born at the Basel Cantonal Hospital in Basel, Switzerland. His father, Robert Federer, is Swiss, from Berneck, near the borders between Switzerland, Austria and Germany, and his mother, Lynette Federer (born Durand), from Kempton Park,  is a South African.

Justin Gabriel:
Justin is a South African professional wrestler. He works for WWE under the ring name Justin Gabriel. Lloyd made his professional wrestling debut at the age of 16 and was originally trained by his father Paul Lloyd, Sr., a promoter and wrestler in South Africa who also went by the ring name "The Pink Panther".

Orlando Bloom:
Orlando was born in Canterbury, Kent, England. His mother, Sonia Constance Josephine, was born in the British section of Kolkata, India. During his childhood, Bloom was told that his father was his mother's husband, Jewish South African-born anti-Apartheid novelist Harry Saul Bloom; however, when he was thirteen (nine years after Harry's death), Bloom's mother revealed to him that his biological father was actually Colin Stone, his mother's partner and family friend.

Sasha Pieterse:
Sasha is a South African born American actress and singer. She is known for her role as Alison DiLaurentis on ABC Family's TV series Pretty Little Liars. Sasha was born in Johannesburg on 17 February 1996 but moved to the United States when she was 3 years old where she was raised in Las Vegas before moving to Los Angeles.

The Kongos:
Kongos is a South African rock band consisting of the Kongos brothers; Johnny, Jesse, Dylan and Daniel. They spent their childhoods travelling between Britain and South Africa. They presently compose, record and perform in Phoenix, Arizona. They are all the sons of John Kongos.

Seether is a South African band that made it big in the US, who was previously known as Saron Gas but had to change it due to political reasons. The lead vocalist, Shaun Morgan Welgemoed, went to school in Pietermaritzburg and once dated Amy Lee from Evanescence. The bassist, Dale Stewart, is also a South African whereas the drummer John Humphrey is American.

 - Wikipedia/Getty Images



  • Phalo Mjikwa - 2013-07-26 12:14

    Of course I knew of Dave Mathews back in the late 90s. I listen to his music a lot. My wife loves Roger Federer and we read a lot about him, hence we knew of him too

      Kwajo Musa - 2013-07-27 17:18

      I thought Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will appear as a Tsonga/Shangaan from Giyani in Limpopo. They forgot to mention Musa Nkuna who is a opera singer in Switzerland also from South Africa in Giyani.

  • Franziska Sukow - 2013-07-26 12:22

    I just discovered that I have South African connections in my ancestry too. My great-grandmother came from Normandy in northern France, which as you know, is pretty close to southern France, which is pretty close to the Mediterranean, which is pretty close to North Africa, which is not that far from South Africa.... Joking aside, what the heck does a geographical area where a person (or his mother) may be born, have to do with anything? Does it makes them a better actor or singer? What if such a person does not identify with the population (or any of the multitude of groups) remaining in that area?

      Sandy Hammond - 2013-07-26 14:10

      Nothing, it's just interesting.

  • Jaz - 2013-07-26 12:22

    Strange that the Kongos are mentioned, but not a word of Seether - one of the biggest selling rock bands on the planet.

      Marco Hudson - 2013-07-27 07:45

      Have a closer look Jaz........Seether is one of my favorite bands. The songs "Rise above this" and "Tonight"....simply BRILLIANT!

  • Brian van der Spuy - 2013-07-27 10:07

    I wonder whether I should feel stupid. I don't have the vaguest clue who most of these people are.

  • Johnnie Walker - 2013-07-27 12:30

    Steve Stofsuier also has a South African connection!

      Brian van der Spuy - 2013-07-27 20:09

      Not South African. Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek connection. It's not quite the same thing.

  • Jacqui Steinmann - 2013-07-27 13:12

    AND St Lucia- Jean Philip Grobler. Singer, songwriter living in New York. Exceptional talent!!!!!

      Sht Stirrer - 2013-07-29 13:21


  • Jahiem Nkahloleng Tshehlakgolo - 2013-07-28 15:05

    Also Multi-Platinum Record Producer JR Rotem (Jonathan Reuven Rotem) born 1975 in Johannesburg South Africa.

      Sht Stirrer - 2013-07-29 13:21

      Who dat?

  • Tharina Van Der Westhuizen - 2013-07-30 11:25

    "Celebs you didn’t know had SA roots" I knew almost all of these, so this heading is wrong.

  • LeNozz Nozey H - 2013-10-10 12:35

    Shocking Seether and Orlando Bloom South African?

  • LeNozz Nozey H - 2013-10-10 12:35

    Shocking Seether and Orlando Bloom?

  • Spijo Skhokho - 2015-03-17 15:40

    ayi no comment

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