Louise Smit, the name behind South African children’s television programmes such as Wielie Walie, Pumpkin Patch, Mina Moo and Kideo, is ready to embark on what she anticipates will be another success, the rugby theme song, Stormers Wave.
With a bubbly, dramatic personality, it is no wonder that Ms Smit has worked on over 6 000 television shows in English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa from creating characters to writing lyrics, as well as writing books.
But the Stormers’ song brought a new challenge. Ms Smit, who grew up in Paarl and now lives in Sea Point with her husband of 14 years, said when she watched rugby on her television, she felt as if there was something missing.
She said rugby, as well as soccer, were South Africa’s biggest forms of theatre. Last year in June, after watching a match on TV, the only tune echoing through the stadium and her mind was “Pro-o-vince, Pro-o-vince” or better “Ole-ole-oleole- ole-ole”.
“I woke up at 2am and I couldn’t sleep. I was wide awake and all the words for the Stormers’ song came to me, just like that,” said an overthe- moon Ms Smit. The next step was to find people to work with to compose music, record and perform the song. But it was easier than she expected because she met sound engineer and producer Henk Steenkamp of MusicatWork studios at a wedding… and the rest is history.
Stormers Wave, which is performed by Parow band Cool Sounds, has a Khoi-Khoi mixed with Klopse rhythm and easy lyrics for spectators to remember. “I’m a Kaapie so it has to be in Kaapie language – we mix the English and the Afrikaans,” laughed Ms Smit.
There were many songs written for the Stormers but the problem was that the lyrics weren’t easy enough, said Ms Smit. The catchy theme song has a mixture of English and Afrikaans lyrics with crowds to sing the chorus “Stormers, Stormers, Stormers, kom ons doen die Stormers wave!” “The chorus is singable.
It’s an emotional song and it has great artistic value. The lyrics all have reference to the sea because of the name Stormers,” she said. Stormers Wave includes humour and also gives fans the opportunity to taunt the opposition with lyrics like: “Die Stormers gee die Bul ’n brandsiekpil; die Leeu se brul word sommer stil; die Sharks het besluit kom ons waai goodbaai! Oppie grond lê ’n Cheetah……. en hy is poegaai!”
Ms Smit said she loved working with the team, who funded the project, and they hoped to give the Stormers rugby team a copy of the song.
But writing a song like Stormers Wave has come with over 40 years experience for Ms Smit, who is 70 years old, but said “age is nothing”. Ms Smit fell in love with music and theatre when her father regularly took her and five siblings by train to watch productions at Maynardville.
Ms Smit’s personality and career choice is a mixture of her father, who was a choir conductor and who played the piano for silent movies, with her mother who was a teacher. Ms Smit spent four years in Malawi when she was 24 doing theatre with underprivileged children, which she loved.
When asked about the highlights of her life, she replied: “Life is a highlight. I am so blessed and because I am so blessed, I want to give back… I believe that you must give and don’t expect to receive.” Ms Smit, who has one daughter, Cornelia, a professional pianist in Germany, said her motto in life is “Think. New. Now”.
When asked what inspired her, she replied: “My love for people. “I was born to make people, especially children, happy.” Ms Smit said her instincts, as always, know when something is going to be a hit, and the Stormers song is going to ride the wave of success.
To download the song for R7,
SELLECCA LANG, Atlantic Sun, 1st April 2010