The revolution is coming. Get ready to do the Van’Dango

2011-09-24 19:54

Unsavoury rumours follow Freddie Van’Dango everywhere.

Every day the grapevine delivers something he didn’t know about himself: he is a drug addict and his best friend is his dealer; the wrist bands he wears are because he’s been in and out of rehab as he can’t control his habit and, wait for it, he is gay.

“I have no idea why people find such an interest in my life because I think I’m actually quite boring. I laugh off the rumours because when you’re negative, you get physically sick,” he says.

The Idols contestant’s life changed nine years ago when his step-brother drowned in the swimming pool on his fourth birthday, an experience Van’Dango (23) says still gives him nightmares and caused him to detach from his family.

“My parents broke down that day. It was his bath time and I went looking for him outside because he wasn’t in the house.

The next thing I heard my mum screaming and I just knew. I rushed to the side of the house and there he was in the pool. I jumped in and got him out but he was dead. I can never explain what that did to our family.”

After matriculating, he got involved in what he calls “the dark side”. As a live-performance student at the Afda Film School in Joburg, he got hooked on drugs and dropped out after his first year despite getting good marks.

“I did everything except heroin and tik. People thought I was dead when I went missing for four days doing drugs. I didn’t really care what happened to me then.”

He went to live in George where he developed a love affair with the guitar. “I taught myself how to play it upside down because I’m left-handed and it was a right-handed guitar.”

He made a living waiting tables at Mugg & Bean but hated it because of the early hours.

“I like partying until the early hours and I am not a morning person so I quit.”

He was still a junkie when he entered Idols last year and didn’t make it very far: “I was very self-destructive and had an idealistic perception of what it means to be a rock star. But now I want to get high on life.”

After exceeding his own expectations and making it to the Top Four this year, Van’Dango can now call himself a professional singer with the freedom to make the music he wants. “The Van’Dango revolution is coming,” he says with a big goofy grin.

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