Destined for stardom

2018-10-09 06:01
Fatima Arendse, mother of Niyaaz Arendse. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

Fatima Arendse, mother of Niyaaz Arendse. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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Local residents have been glued to their television screens in the latest season of the popular singing competition, Idols.

Niyaaz Arendse (22) is one of the final eight (at the time of going to print) contestants left on the show. His mother Fatima Arendse says that not only is the family immensely proud of Niyaaz, but everyone who lives around the family residence in Mayfair Court could not be any prouder of one of their own.

“He began singing at three years old already and I never took note of him, but when he was at Battswood Primary School the teacher would call me in to tell me that they have a little idol at their school and that was when he was just six,” she says.

Niyaaz, who turns 23 on Wednesday 26 December, will need the popular vote of the public if he is to be crowned South Africa’s next singing sensation, but councillor for the area, William Akim, believes he is already a star.

“Despite the issues and challenges that we are experiencing in our community, this is something where a youngster from our area in Ottery came out tops because of the talent that he has. He is a very humble person. I have known him since 2010, because he always took part in a variety of shows, singing in the community. Then I could actually see that he has the potential to be successful. I told his mother that he is going to be the idol for 2018. I predict that he will win Idols,” says Akim.

Masnoena Salie, who is one of Niyaaz’s four siblings, says her brother has been entering talent competitions for as long as she can remember. He has been trying to break through for a long time, entering Idols four times before finally making it to the top 16 earlier this year.

“He has never given up. It tells other people not to give up on your dreams and he has never given up, because he has tried for a very long time,” says Fatima, who remembers Niyaaz singing in the area as he was growing up.

“We never thought that Niyaaz was going to be a singer one day, but that is his dream – to be a singer. He even succeeded in getting a bursary through singing and then went to Bergvliet High School,” she says.

Akim believes Niyaaz’s sound mindset, personality and attitude were fostered by his parents.

“He is very approachable when you speak to him, but that comes down to his parents who taught him the basic things and not to take things for granted,” he says.

Fatima applauds the way her son has carried himself throughout his life.

“He lived here, all around the gangsters, but he did not allow that to bother him because he just carried on doing his thing. He told me that he would like to be a music teacher one day, to go and study to teach the children. I am very proud he wants to be a teacher,” says Fatima, while Masnoena jokes, “Even the gangsters here love him because he is so very nice.”

Fatima, who helps make food to feed the community, says that when Niyaaz was growing up, he was always aware of the plight of others.

“He was always a child who said that he wanted me to put up a soup kitchen so that I could give the children food. That was when he was 14 and he still has it in his heart to give to the children. He always wants to share and he is that humble child. (Now) it is part of me that he is giving to others. He is a person who does not look down on people. He is a lovely child and you can never say anything bad about him,” she says.

Neither Fatima nor Masnoena knows what Niyaaz has planned should he win Idols, but they do know he is working hard to overturn the difficult upbringing he had.

“We pushed through and we are still struggling, but that did not hold him back. We don’t know what is in his heart should he win, but he wants to give my mom an early retirement. He always said from the beginning that he is doing this for me, so that we can have a better life. I love him very much. I love all my children, but I love him very much.”

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