Art and Culture

Louise Bekker  

left Louise (Louise - Bekker) right

When Louise Smit (née Bekker) thinks back to her childhood in Paarl, the tedious practising of scales on the piano springs to her mind. Her father, an ardent pianist, wanted to make virtuosi of all his children. But Louise would have preferred to dance on top of the piano - she felt restricted by the eight octaves.

Bedtime was story time. Her mother, a teacher and animated storyteller, kept the six children spellbound with her wonderful stories.

After happy schooldays at La Rochelle Girls' High, she studied Drama at the University of Stellenbosch. She then did charitable work in Malawi, Central Africa. She performed indigenous folktales with the , staging indigenous folktales, with the participation of the local children in the rural areas. This led to weekly children's radio programmes in the Chicewa language.

Returning to South Africa, she joined the Civic Theatre in Johannesburg as puppeteer before accepting the position as programme director at the South African Broadcasting Corporation - TV division. Her first programmes, Haas Das se Nuuskas (a rabbit news anchor wearing flashy ties) and Wielie Walie, were national hits. She also created and directed programmes in isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sotho, Pedi, SetTswana and English.

In 1980 she built her own television studio. Twenty years later she sold it to Red Pepper Productions.

She loves cooking while Mozart's music boisterously fills the house. Reading is a passion. Annually she also reads all Roald Dahl books illustrated by Quentin Blake. It makes her laugh. And that is what she achieves with her own stories: she makes children laugh. She is married, lives in Cape Town and has a daughter, Corneli Smit. She now writes full time.
Seven Artes Awards for best TV programs (equivalent of Emmy)South African Broadcasting Corporation.
Two Star Tonight Awards, Star Tonight newspaper.
Unima Puppet Award for best contribution to puppetry in South Africa
Prix de Jeunesse award, Munich, 1996 for Kideo.
Tokyo International Award for innovation, Kideo.
Golden Plume Award for her contribution and excellence from the South African Broadcasting Corporation.



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Matric Year: 1961

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