Louw holds noth­ing back

CityPress - - News - AVANTIKA SEETH avantika.seeth@city­press.co.za

Actress and mu­si­cian Marah Louw has re­leased her highly an­tic­i­pated tell-all au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, which is sim­ply ti­tled It’s Me, Marah. She be­gan writ­ing it af­ter a hip re­place­ment in 2015.

In an in­ter­view with City Press at her pub­lisher’s of­fice, Black­Bird Books in Auck­land Park, Louw re­calls that the writ­ing process was a dif­fi­cult jour­ney that was of­ten punc­tu­ated with emo­tional out­bursts as she re­lived her mem­o­ries, and as she was driven by the de­sire to tell it like it is.

She says that even though the process of writ­ing was ther­a­peu­tic, she also had to over­come the dif­fi­culty of re­veal­ing the names of the peo­ple who were in­volved in her life.

“I don’t feel like you should hide the names if you write an au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. That’s why I was hon­est about ev­ery­thing – from the man who abused me to my own fam­ily,” she says.

How­ever, she ad­mits that there are cer­tain things she still feels have not brought her to­tal peace, such as “the rev­e­la­tion of the true iden­tity” of her mother. She may have writ­ten the truth and en­sured she has noth­ing to hide, but she is still left with­out “full clo­sure”.

At the launch of the book, which was held at Restau­rant Vi­lakazi in Soweto on Wed­nes­day night, her daugh­ter Mo­ratuwa re­lated how her mother would of­ten stay up late at night typ­ing away on her lap­top.

The 59-year-old singer, who looks as radiant in per­son as she does on our TV screens, ad­mits that she could not bring her­self to men­tion ra­dio and tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity Gareth Cliff in her book, even though she writes about an en­counter in­volv­ing him.

The in­ci­dent re­lates to when was still a judge on singing com­pe­ti­tion Idols SA, dur­ing which she re­ceived mer­ci­less public crit­i­cism for al­legedly go­ing berserk and act­ing ir­ra­tionally dur­ing the film­ing of a live au­di­tion. She was sub­se­quently fired for al­legedly be­ing drunk on the job, which left her im­age tar­nished.

Fel­low judge Cliff later con­ceded in his book – Cliffhanger, Con­fes­sions of a Shock Jock – that he gave Louw a drink con­tain­ing vodka and Red Bull, which Louw con­sumed af­ter tak­ing pain med­i­ca­tion.

“I don’t men­tion him be­cause I don’t ever want to talk about him. He is a lit­tle boy to me, and that’s that. We used to be so close, but I have ab­so­lutely no re­la­tion­ship with him now,” she says.

In 1991, Louw was in­vited to per­form on the Oceanos cruise ship, which sank due to un­con­trolled flood­ing off the Wild Coast on Au­gust 3.

She re­lates the events of that fate­ful night to read­ers: “I was the only black per­son on board, sim­ply be­cause I was in­vited to per­form ev­ery even­ing. The day we were told the ship was sink­ing was the scari­est day of my life.”

Louw also men­tions in her book the racist back­lash she has faced through­out her life, in­clud­ing dur­ing her 17-year mar­riage to Scots­man Bill Thomp­son. She re­called a night when her hus­band “went out to a bar for a drink and one of the men asked him if he had found my ‘tail’”.

“These kinds of com­ments con­tinue to­day [on so­cial me­dia], with peo­ple call­ing us ‘mon­keys’ and other names. It angers me, but it also wor­ries me that we are an an­gry na­tion – we are a melt­ing pot wait­ing to ex­plode,” she says.

Asked about her fu­ture plans, Louw says she is in a happy space and a new al­bum is set to be recorded in col­lab­o­ra­tion with South African com­poser Lebo M, of Dis­ney’s The Lion King fame.

“Lebo M was just 14 when he used to sneak into the Pel­i­can Night­club at which I used to per­form, and he used to beg me for an op­por­tu­nity to sing with me. Even­tu­ally, I gave him that chance,” Louw says.

She says that, at the book launch, Lebo M an­nounced to ev­ery­one that he wanted to do an al­bum with her.

“I couldn’t be hap­pier be­cause it’s been 20 years since I’ve re­leased an al­bum. He also posted it on Face­book, and I know he al­ways sticks to his word,” Louw says.

PHOTO: NDILEKA LUJABE

RE­VEALED Marah Louw speaks about her au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, It’s Me, Marah

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