If the local entertainment industry had a father then it would definitely be the iconic Terry Fortune.
Known to younger artists as Uncle Terry, this week the legend was recognised for his contribution to the arts by the kykNET Fiësta with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
No one deserves it more than Terry Fortune, who was a brilliant artist in his prime, working with, among others, Taliep Petersen, David Kramer, Sophia Foster, Richard John Smith, Zayn Adam and Basil Appollis.
Today, he continues to play an important role in the careers of many up and coming actors.
Uncle Terry’s home is always filled with people from the arts – whom he calls his children – including Loukmaan Adams, Alistair Izobell, Jody Abrahams, Austin Rose and Mujahid George. I even lived with Uncle Terry for over five years.
At the House of Fortune, many great productions were born in the lounge that he calls the magic room, under the dreamcatcher.
In his younger days, Terry lived in Joburg, Durban and London. He also spent time touring Europe and Australia.
He worked for the MSC shipping company as the resident performer and had his own show for 12 years.
So if you are not familiar with this icon, it could simply be that he was always busy pushing international boundaries.
When Taliep passed on 15 years ago, Terry played the lead role of the narrator in the Kramer-Petersen Songbook.
And this is what most of us remember: the uncle with the koefiyahtjie who moved us all to tears with his rendition of Dancing On My Own.
That year he won a Fleur du Cap award for his performance, which he dedicated to his best friend Taliep.
Terry Fortune should be declared a national treasure as is done in England because he is an endless well of knowledge for the arts and he has the Midas touch.
He has the innate ability to identify the gift of every artist and to help them cultivate it; and it shows immediately when they step on stage.
Reflecting on his Fiësta award, Terry said: “I am so blessed to be able to receive this award at the age of 72 in the middle of a pandemic and while I am still alive.”
And then, in typical Terry Fortune style, he cried.
Sometimes we get carried away as artists and only focus on the job. This is why this icon plays an important role, because he makes us realise that there is so much more to life than just doing the show.
One of his favourite sayings to egotistical artists is: “Don’t believe your own publicity.”
To really understand what his life was like, you can visit his Facebook page and read his exciting stories called Faces of Fortune.
I just know that one day these stories will come to life as a musical.