I think it was in the early ’90s, but I remember how pleasantly surprised I was when Marius Weyers appeared in an episode of The Golden Girls; a South African on an American TV show that I happen to love watching.
And then Arnold Vosloo starred in the title role of the movie The Mummy, which completely blew me away.
In fact I was blown away every time it happened; when Charlize Theron made it big; when Mark Shuttleworth sold his company to Americans for an obscene amount of money and then became the first African in space, and when Premier League football bought Benni McCarthy, Lucas Radebe and others.
I remember how proud I felt watching the music video of our very own Jonathan Butler singing "If You’re Ready (come go with me)" with Ruby Turner and becoming a global star alongside rocker Dave Matthews.
It hit me again when I found out that Elon Musk was born in SA, and, of course, when Trevor Noah succeeded Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.
And now there’s another wave of moments that give me pride, as our country’s talents again impress the world - the Ndlovu Youth Choir giving the world chills on America’s Got Talent and Charlize featuring our spinning queen Stacey-Lee May on her Netflix car show Hyperdrive.
Every now and again, I notice a story about local musos, or sports prodigy, or dance group, like Gugulethu’s United We Stand dancers being invited to compete in the All Dance World Competition in the US.
These youngsters are all being given a shot at the big time overseas and it’s all thanks to those early pioneers.
They made the world see that here at the tip of Africa, we have oodles of talent.
Thanks to them, the world no longer looks confused about where South Africa is and what we have to offer.
In fact, I reckon these days, you stand a better chance of scoring an opportunity by virtue of being from South Africa, than any previous generation ever did.
Because of these trailblazers, there’s an expectation of excellence and hunger for success.
There’s no reason why you can’t go be an actor in Hollywood, star on Broadway, be an ace trader on Wall Street, or start a business in Washington or a music career in New York.
Take advantage of the love the world has for South African talent and aptitude.
Now’s the time to not just dream big, but to chase those dreams.