A life of passion, a life well-lived.

The life of Rouel Beukes - freelance singer, actor, nature guide and hunter.

Born 3 January 1955 in Krugersdorp in the late province of Transvaal (currently Gauteng) in South Africa. I am the proud eldest child and only son of De Villiers, a uranium miner who later became a car salesman   (he died on the night of my debut as an opera singer, 12 th April 1978 at the age of 47) and Babie,  a school teacher until she retired at the age of 60. She passed away on the 30 th of May 2007 at the age of 75. My sister, Louisa, who is 4 years younger than me is a lecturer in stage craft as well as a school teacher. I went to school at the age of 6 at Betsie Verwoerd Primary school and changed to Randfontein Afrikaans Medium school during my grade 5th year. I then attended Riebeeck High school till my grade 10 year when we left Randfontein, the town   we were living in, and went to Florida High school where I matriculated. It is here that I was "discovered" after entering a singing competition, which I won .At that stage my social life and sport activities were more important than my studies and I nearly failed my final year in school! That was in 1972, the year in which I also got honorary colours for my contribution towards culture in the school and was also chosen to represent the learners on the Representative Counsil.   I started taking singing lessons in that year with Sarie Lamprecht, who throughout my career, played a major role in my life. She was like my second mother and I studied with her for nearly 30 years.

In 1973 I went to the army and was based at a maintenance unit in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, for 9 months. As it was an ammunition depot and I spend most of my time standing guard. Fortunately there was also a military band in which I played the trumpet and I was part of a silent drill squad which performed just about every weekend somewhere in the country.

 After my military training I enrolled at Goudstad Teachers College in Johannesburg and studied for 4 years to become a school teacher. This was in 1974. It was during this year that I entered the Crescendo National singing competition for light music and   became the first winner of this competition. This competition opened many doors for me and I started thinking of making singing my career. I fell in love during this time with Eureke Greyling and is very blessed, that after 33 years, she is still part of my life and the mother of my 2 children. During my years as a student I was involved in many cultural and sporting activities. I played tennis, men's hockey, jukskei, sang in the chorus, chairman of the drama society and held the transport portfolio on the Students Representative counsel for which I got honorary colors. I stayed in Majuba men's hostel and am still in close contact with many ex students.

In 1978 I started teaching at Maraisburg Primary School. This was probably the most dramatic year in my whole life. During this year I made my debut as an opera singer in the role of the "Gran Sacerdote" (High priest) in Verdi's Nabucco for PACT ( Provincial Arts Counsel for   the Transvaal ). My father died 3 days after my engagement to Eureke. I started my career as an opera singer and school teacher at the same time and got married on the 7th of October  of that year. We moved into a 3 bedroom apartment on the premises of Goudstad Teacher's College and stayed there till 1981 when we bought a stand in Halfway House (now Midrand) and built our first house. During that time I was offered a post at Kroonrand Primary School and taught there for just 1 year. In 1980 I won the Mimi Coertse Bursury which gave me the opportunity to study opera and singing overseas. I resigned from my job as a teacher and in August 1980, we left for Munich, Germany where I started my studies with Prof. Hanno Blaschke and Prof. Wilfried Koch at the Hochschule fur Music.

 On my return the following year I was offered a permanent contract as soloist with PACT   with the State Theatre in Pretoria as home base. I accepted the contract and stayed with them till the new ANC government closed the opera department in 1996. I speak under correction, but I think I am the only South African who was under permanent contract at any theatre in S.A for more than 20 years. It was also during this time(1981) that I made my debut as an actor in a television drama for SABC Television, Chekkoff's Cherry Orchard in which I played the part of Jasja. From 1981-1996 I sang in at least 5 productions per year totaling to far more than a hundred productions, some of which I have repeated many times, such as Sparafucile in Verdi's Rigoletto, of which I sang 108 performances in different productions. Our daughter, Nadia , was born on the 19 th of August 1981 and on the 21st of March 1986 the Lord blessed us again and my wife gave birth to a healthy boy who we call De Villiers, after my father. In the same year I won the South African Airways State Theatre Foundation Bursary which enabled me to further my studies in Milan, Italy, under Maestro Franco Ferraris.

 On my return the other arts counsels in S.A started using me extensively and I spend many weeks and sometimes months away from home. She accepted that it was my work and I will for as long as I live be the most greatful man on earth for this woman who God entrusted upon me to be my wife. I have won many awards during my 23 years at the State Theatre and is very proud of the fact that I sang in the very first production and also the very last production that was done under the banner of the State Theatre Opera Ensemble.

 In 1997 the changing political climate forced me to start freelancing and it took me a while to get used to it. Things changed rapidly and less operas were being produced, the last one in the State Theatre being "Il Matremonio Segretto" in 2000. There were less radio dramas to participate in, and as a voice artist my income became less and less because there was less dubbing work. It looked as though my world was going to fall apart. It was then that I decided to fulfill a lifelong dream and I qualified myself as a professional hunter, field guide and National Tour Guide. I became part of a company called Africa Wild Safaris and is currently still very much involved in accompanying tourists and hunters on safaris. In 2004 I had the opportunity to join Lord Andrew Lloyd's Weber's company , The Really Useful Group, as a member of the cast, touring Asia with" Phantom of the Opera". I stayed with this company till 2007 and has been involved in nearly 800 performances in 5 different roles touring Cape Town, Pretoria, Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong and Singapore.

 I am now used to this life of a freelance singer, actor, nature guide and hunter.

 My life is rich and full. My CD's are selling well, I sing in many concerts, I am off to Sweden in January 2008 to sing in the world premiere of a new opera called "Poet and Prophetess", I am in demand as an actor, I work as a nature guide in the most beautiful places imaginable, my two beautiful children are doing well, and my wife still loves me dearly. For me, there is no other woman like her on the face of the earth. I thank my Heavenly Father for so many opportunities and wonderful people who crossed my path and a truly blessed life!