English pop star’s proudly SA connection

2013-08-11 14:00

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Mike and the Mechanics star feels at home in Mzansi, and loves a braai and tjoppies

British pop-rock star Mike Rutherford of Mike and the Mechanics loves to braai a tjoppie at his lavish sea-facing home in Cape Town.

Rutherford’s granny is from South Africa and he bought land on the foothills of Table Mountain in 2006.

Last year, he even recorded a new 25th anniversary version of his hit song, The Living Years – which topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts after it was first recorded in 1989 – with the Cape Town-based Isango Ensemble.

The recording was done in London, England, and in Cape Town at Milestone Studios off Long Street over Christmas.

In an interview this week, 62-year-old Rutherford said he hoped to release the new version of The Living Years soon.

“You can’t beat the original version, so I wanted to record it in a very different way,” he said. “Isango is just amazing. They are very popular overseas.”

The feeling is definitely mutual.

Isango, which draws artists from townships around Cape Town, is internationally renowned. The band appeared at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London in April.

“It was easy and relaxing working with Mike. It was good,” said Mandisi Dyantyi, Isango’s musical director.

A local real estate agent estimated Rutherford’s prime property in Bantry Bay, with wraparound decks and glass-encased entertainment areas, to be worth R100 million.

Mike Rutherford’s property stands on the foothills of Table Mountain in Cape Town. Picture: chloehonore.wordpress.com

Rutherford and his wife, Angie, are known to host lavish parties at the premises over the summer months.

“Oh, I love to have a good barbecue. I’d barbecue anything,” said Rutherford. “I have a strong South African connection. I mean, one of my christened names is Cloete.”

The rocker was named Michael John Cloete Crawford Rutherford when he was born in Guildford, England, in 1950.

When the guitarist is not flipping tjoppies at his sea-front braai place, he likes to dine at The Grand in Granger Bay – where Oscar-winning Benoni-born actress Charlize Theron was seen sipping pink bubbly with her mum, Gerda, in November.

Rutherford has sponsored piano and guitar tutoring at The Darling Trust, which was founded by entertainer Pieter-Dirk Uys in 2003 to promote health and art awareness along the poverty-stricken West Coast.

Tasha St John-Reid, operations manager at the trust, said: “Mike came out two years ago with Arno Carstens and had a jamming session with the kids. It was lovely.”

Mike and the Mechanics will perform that and other hits like All I Need Is A Miracle, Over My Shoulder and Beggar On A Beach Of Gold on local stages later this month. They will play in Sun City in Rustenburg on August 17, Carnival City on August 18 and Cape Town on August 20.

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