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Travel to Cape Town


Mabu Vinyl, Cape Town

16 June 2015

Local knowledge

A nickname, some banter on a beach, and passion for the music of Rodriguez, a gifted singer-songwriter long thought dead, all led to a mind-boggling journey for Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman, the co-owner of Mabu Vinyl.

“I first heard Rodriguez back in the ’70s and he was always at the back of my mind. So much so I was nicknamed ‘Sugar’ after one of his songs,” he says. “Then about 20 years ago, when I was hanging out on the beach, somebody asked me how Rodriguez died. There were all sorts of rumours so I decided to find out, eventually discovering he was actually very much alive. It was a total shock. And Rodriguez was just as shocked to find out how popular he was here.”

Those who’ve seen the Oscar-winning 2012 documentary Searching For Sugarman will be familiar with the story, yet despite its amazing success the film may never have seen the light of day but for the sheer determination of Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul, who sadly passed away in 2014. “Malik was on a worldwide hunt for stories,” Stephen says. “He’d read about our search for Rodriguez in The Guardian and in 2006 came to Cape Town to find out more. We hit it off straight away.”

Despite a name check at the Oscars, Stephen prefered watching Malik enojy his moment in that rarified limelight. “My favourite memory is of him standing proudly on stage with the golden statue. The Cape Tourism Board actually flew us to LA as a thank-you for bringing the beauty of the region to so many.”

At the mention of the Vanity Fair after-party Stephen grins and replies, “Well, we got to hang out with a bunch of film stars and celebrities. I guess it was a surreal night to cap a magical journey.” Keep an eye out for Stephen’s soon to be published book Sugar Man, co-written with fellow searcher Craig Bartholomew Styrdom, or better yet, drop by and see him at Mabu Vinyl.


Local knowledge

To eat like a local…
Try Miller’s Thumb on Kloofnek Road

If you’re after live music…
Head to The Assembly on Harrington Street

Get outside the city…
Drive to Hout Bay, over Chapman’s Peak (opening scene in the film Searching For Sugarman)

A good soundtrack to the city is…
Astral Weeks by Van Morrison and, of course, Cold Fact by Rodriguez

The best advice I can give…
‘If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?’



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