Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Saturday, March 06, 2004

We Love You Charlize

From Putfontein to the president's office - South African-born Oscar winning actress Charlize Theron will jet into a hero's welcome when she arrives in Johannesburg this weekend. President Mbeki sent a note saying: "We are all immensely proud of this, our South African daughter. We wish her well." Charlize won the Best Actress Oscar this week for her portrayal of a murderer in Monster. She is the first South African to win the award. Mbeki is hoping that she will be able to squeeze him into her busy schedule next week.
The Pretoria News

South Africans can't seem to get enough of Charlize. She's been regular headline fodder since the day she won her Golden Globe award, and she's the pride of our nation. South African girl makes good and we are loving every minute of her fame and acclamation. Of course, here in South Africa, we have a fierce tradition of claiming our own. Despite the most tenuous of links to the country - if you make it big on the international stage - you will be claimed and proclaimed a South African and held in the highest regard. Take JRR Tolkien for example, he was born in South Africa to British parents and returned to Britain at about age four - as far as we are concerned he is proudly South African. Or actress Embeth Davidtz and actor Richard E. Grant, they may have lived longer overseas than they ever did in South Africa, doesn't matter, to us they will always be South African. Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of US democrat frontrunner John Kerry, went to boarding school in South Africa and studied for a degree in romance languages at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, well, we can't exactly call her South African, but nevermind, we're claiming her anyway as one ours and will be more than happy to remind you of her South African connection at any given opportunity.

South Africans also have a way of getting around, and have a peculiar penchant for pitching up at global hotspots. Sholto Hedenskog, a South African soldier serving with the British Royal Marines was one of the first soldiers to be killed in the Iraq war in March last year. Or more recently, revolution in Haiti, South African playwrite Brett Bailey was there. He just happened to be working as a consultant on a theatrical production in the island nation at the time. A major hostage crisis in the Philippines four years ago - no problem, South African holiday makers Monique and Callie Strydom were among those taken captive by Abu Sayyaf rebels. In fact Monique happened to be particularly media savvy and has remained a minor celebrity in South Africa to this day, popping up every now and again on the gossip pages of the Sunday papers.