Originally from Sebokeng, a township near Vereeniging, Refentse Morake, 24, has come to be known to South Africa as the Sesotho boy who sings in a perfectly unaccented Afrikaans.
He has since become a well-known name in the South African entertainment industry, still surprising audiences with his brilliant voice and perfect Afrikaans.
Here are some things you might not have known about the talented singer:
Refentse was an overachiever in school
Apart from being dubbed a troubadour in high school, spending every break making music in the school hall, he also played A-team rugby and dreamed of a career in politics. When he was 10 years old, he wanted to become president.
Bok van Blerk’s ‘De La Rey’ changed his stars
Refentse was playing guitar and singing Bok van Blerk’s De La Rey after school in 2015 when a local tannie – Cecilia Marchionna, also known as Aunt Kleintjie – asked if she could take a video of him singing the song.
Never in his wildest dreams had he thought that the video would go viral.
According to music critic, Erns Grundling, Refentse’s viral rendition of De La Rey did a lot to “diffuse some of the tension” surrounding the song.
Music was his language learning tool
No one in Refentse’s family could speak Afrikaans when he got a scholarship to the primary school in Meyerton where his grandmother worked as janitor. Still, he quickly learned the language with the help of his growing Afrikaans music collection. T
his collection, which had initially been his learning tool, later also became his passion.
Not just singer, but also songwriter
Refentse uses his position as a Black Afrikaans singer to bring messages through his songwriting.
According to Erns Grundling, the singer’s songwriting is “far better than your average Afrikaans pop star’s”. His biggest hit Reisiger comments on gender-based violence and Liefdegenerasie invites South Africans to join a new generation of people who are tired of discrimination and prejudice.
Making music in Afrikaans is easy for him
Refentse says writing and singing in Afrikaans is not difficult for him as he also thinks and dreams in Afrikaans.