Three decades on, singer still inspires children

2012-02-24 00:00

LEEE John, the frontman for the group Imagination and a successful solo singer, film-maker and author, has travelled the globe entertaining people, but until yesterday no one had ever danced for him.

John, who is one of the acts taking part in the Rewind — The Eighties Festival at King’s Park in Durban tomorrow, was in Pietermaritzburg to visit the SOS Children’s Village in Charles Barter Avenue and was treated to a surprise performance by Asanda, Lerato, Siyamthanda, Amanda, Lungisani, Aphile and Yenziwe.

The children performed a routine to Imagination’s hit Just An Illusion, which even included one of John’s trademark spins. Roseann Wilkins, the organisation’s corporate fundraiser, said: “They learned the dance in just one day.”

And John, who grinned from ear to ear and clapped in time to the music, said: “I’ve been all over the world, but no one has ever danced for me before. They were great.”

During his visit to the village, which is home to 175 children and young people, he spent time with the staff, asking them what specific needs they had.

“I like to come to places to see for myself what the children and the staff need,” John, a staunch supporter of the charity, told The Witness. “Each place is different and it’s important to see what help is needed the most.”

During a previous visit to South Africa, John spent time in Thornton and Langa, near Cape Town, to document the work being done by SOS Children’s Villages with the youth in the area. Now he hopes to help the Pietermaritzburg SOS Children’s Village get some of its projects off the ground.

The organisation, which like Imagination is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is also appealing for donations of books and toys to supplement the collections they have for their own children and the pupils who attend the SOS Kindergarten. John, who handed out books, posters and cards during his visit, encouraged residents to support the charity and its initiatives, including the annual Village Celebration at 11 am on April 14, during which the children’s talents in singing and dancing will be showcased.

Those interested in attending are asked to phone Roseann at 084 462 3190 or Roshilla at 084 444 3495.

• Tickets for the Rewind Festival concert, which also features Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet, Howard Jones, Rick Astley, Marc Almond from Soft Cell, Midge Ure from Ultravox, Martin Fry from ABC, Nik Kershaw, Go West and The Village People, can be bought at Computicket.

• arts@witness.co.za

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