“…and you’re not going to stop me doing what I love And that is to perform…”

Marah Louw is a consummate entertainer, performer, actress, singer, storyteller.

If she were third from the right at the back of the chorus, she’d be the one you’d be watching. But she is not – she is, and always has been the one in the front of stage, shining in the spotlight.

She is the one singing in the school choir at the age of ten; the one Gibson Kente pleaded with, aged seventeen, to play the lead in his newest musical; the one offered a scholarship to study opera in Europe (although she couldn’t take it); the one chosen to tour Japan aged twenty, who sang to the Queen in a Command Performance aged twenty-one, who sang for Madiba at Wembley Stadium after his release.

It has been a spectacular career, always busy, never without work. Whether on the dramatic or musical stage, touring countries in Africa or singing on cruise ships, she has always been in demand. It is a captivating story she tells well. She is riveting. She takes you with her, wringing your heart in part one of this interview, to laughing out loud with her in the second part. She has had her fill of insults from Apartheid, born its restrictions and humiliations. She has been on the receiving end of gender violence… And through all of that, here she is, witty, amusing, wise and forever, Marah Louw the songstress.