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Steve Segerman and Craig Strydom

Steve Segerman and Craig Strydom

Steve Segerman and Craig Strydom

Afternoon Express chats to the  authors behind “Sugar Man: The Life, Death and Ressurection of Sixto Rodriguez".

In the summer of 1972, during a compulsory stint in the South African military, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman heard the music that would forever change his life. A decade later, on yet another military base, Craig Bartholomew Strydom heard the same music. It would have a profound effect. Who was this folk singer who resonated with South Africa’s youth? No one could say. All anyone knew was his name – Rodriguez – and the fact that he had killed himself on stage after reciting his own epitaph. After many years of on-and-off searching in a pre-internet age, the two men found the musician alive and living in seclusion in Detroit. Even more remarkable was the fact that Rodriguez, no longer working as a musician and struggling to eke out a blue-collar existence, had no idea that he had been famous for over 25 years in a remote pariah of the world.

Fast-forward to 2006, the year when Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul left his day job and set out to find ‘the best story in the world’. One day, paging through the Guardian newspaper, he did just that. He tracked down Segerman and Strydom, and so began his quest to make a film of their remarkable tale. It would take four years of living hand-to-mouth for him to finally finish his feature documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, which would go on to win an Academy Award.

Based on the authors’ first-hand knowledge, Sugar Man: The Birth, Death and Resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez carefully outlines three separate journeys and the obstacles and triumphs that each presented: Rodriguez’s quest to make a life from music and his subsequent failure; the odyssey of two Rodriguez fans to find out what had happened to their hero; and the pursuit of die-hard filmmaker Bendjelloul to bring the story to celluloid, and his untimely death shortly thereafter.

Steve Segerman and Craig Strydom

Below is the trailer to the critically-acclaimed Oscar Winning movie:

In the summer of 1972, during a compulsory stint in the South African military, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman heard the music that would forever change his life. A decade later, on yet another military base, Craig Bartholomew Strydom heard the same music. It would have a profound effect. Who was this folk singer who resonated with South Africa’s youth? No one could say. All anyone knew was his name – Rodriguez – and the fact that he had killed himself on stage after reciting his own epitaph. After many years of on-and-off searching in a pre-internet age, the two men found the musician alive and living in seclusion in Detroit. Even more remarkable was the fact that Rodriguez, no longer working as a musician and struggling to eke out a blue-collar existence, had no idea that he had been famous for over 25 years in a remote pariah of the world.

Fast-forward to 2006, the year when Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul left his day job and set out to find ‘the best story in the world’. One day, paging through the Guardian newspaper, he did just that. He tracked down Segerman and Strydom, and so began his quest to make a film of their remarkable tale. It would take four years of living hand-to-mouth for him to finally finish his feature documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, which would go on to win an Academy Award.

Based on the authors’ first-hand knowledge, Sugar Man: The Birth, Death and Resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez carefully outlines three separate journeys and the obstacles and triumphs that each presented: Rodriguez’s quest to make a life from music and his subsequent failure; the odyssey of two Rodriguez fans to find out what had happened to their hero; and the pursuit of die-hard filmmaker Bendjelloul to bring the story to celluloid, and his untimely death shortly thereafter.

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