01 December 2010 by Chris Marais

The Boy From Bethulie

It’s Saturday afternoon on a koppie above the Northern Cape town of Richmond and from where Patrick Mynhardt and I are sitting, we can see the main street revellers in full swing below.

If we look back over our shoulders, we can also see the local traffic cops waiting under shady trees for highway speedsters to pass and fall into their 80 km/h webs.

He’s recounting a marvellous tale of the time he was given the freedom of his home town, Bethulie. Mynhardt had to perform, but he also had to clean out the hall, stack the chairs and open the windows.

And while the show - which recounts his childhood in this little Free State town - was on, an aged local kept piping up:

“No, no Pattie! It never happened like that!”

So you’re over 70, you’re playing to a small group of us in a dining room in Richmond tonight and next week you’re flying off to London for a rather more prestigious set of performances. What gives?

“It doesn’t matter how big the audience is, or where I play,” the master storyteller who has made the work of Herman Charles Bosman his life’s passion answers. “I just want to die in the spotlight with my acting boots on - that’s all that counts.”

That night, Patrick goes on stage at Die Richmond Supper Klub and delivers four hours of excerpts from Boy from Bethulie and the works of Bosman - without breaking a sweat.

He goes off to London and passes away in his sleep on October 25, 2007. God bless, Patrick…

Category: Culture & History

comments powered by Disqus