In the USA, a Nobody but in South Africa a STAR




Sugar Man, Afrikaners’ musical healer and voice.


Afrikaans youth who felt they were not part of the apartheid system responded to the anti-establishment consciousness Rodriguez expressed, which laid the ground for anti-apartheid rock of the 1980s.


By Barbara Nussbaum



Searching for Sugar Man has won the Academy Award for the best documentary. In South Africa there has been significant debate about whether the documentary overstates the role of Rodriguez in liberating the minds of South Africans. What empowered the transformative impact of Rodriguez music? What truth did it help to surface? Why, in particular, did his music stir the souls of so many young Afrikaners in South Africa during the 1970s?

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Zimbabwean-born Barbara Nussbaum is an author, speaker and creative consultant offering music for team building. She studied at UCT from 1971 to 1973 and the London School of Economics, and lived in the US before returning to South Africa in 1992. She co-authored Personal Growth African Style (Penguin S Africa 2010) and her articles have been internationally published by the World Business Academy in the US and Resurgence Magazine in the UK.