Help get Woodstock singer back on his feet

TAURIQ HASSEN

A life-threatening disease had the potential to end a Woodstock opera singer’s career, but it was Fuad Sawyer’s determination that saw him push on and continue to dazzle audiences.

Although he lost a leg in the process, he remains positive, saying: “As long as I didn’t lose my voice, everything’s okay.”

Last year, Mr Sawyer, a diabetic received the news that his leg would have to be amputated after a cut under his foot became affected by gangrene.

“I did not expect that to happen and I was quite surprised by the news, but I was brave enough to make that decision and I did not allow that to get me down at the time,” he said.

The actor, radio personality and opera singer was born in 1956 in Shephard Street, right in the heart of District Six, but due to the apartheid regime’s Group Areas Act, Mr Sawyer and his family were relocated to Kewtown.

He then started his schooling career at Athlone North Primary and later attended Athlone North High School.

At a young age, Mr Sawyer expressed a love for singing and at the age of nine, he joined the Eoan Group’s junior choir where he had the opportunity to be classically trained. He spent many years training and rehearsing with music with voice and production specialists, Alessandro Rota, Olga Magnoni, May Abrahamse, to name a few.

After having completed his training, Mr Sawyer spent many years touring with the Eoan Group, both locally and internationally as cast member for stage operas, musicals, oratorios and stage concerts, under the watchful eye of his mentor and friend, Dr Joseph Manca.

He then started working as a jeweller and actor, eventually moving into radio, where he worked for a number of years, while still singing.

“I always had this passion for the arts and I knew that I could not allow the loss of my leg to lose this passion that I had,” Mr Sawyer said.

After his leg was amputated in 2015, he spent a year in recovery before deciding to round up some friends and host a benefit concert, with other ex-Eoan group artists and directed by opera singer Aviva Pelham, reuniting after many years.

“Money was a bit tight and I still needed to pay the hospital back. I also wanted to raise funds for a prosthetic leg in the process, because I would really like to start walking again. I could have easily accepted my fate and just remained in a wheelchair, but that is not me,” Mr Sawyer said.

The benefit concert, Fuad into the Future, will see the likes of James Bhemgee, Eugene Japhta, Saddi Khan, Lana English and many more performing.

“I looked life straight in the eye and thought to myself that I needed to go on. Life for me has not ended yet, so I thought I’d round up a few friends to throw a benefit concert to help me raise the funds I needed,” Mr Sawyer said.

Mr Sawyer and his wife, Zaida, have two daughters, Nazia and Aniqah.

* Fuad into the Future ill be staged on Saturday February 27 at the Joseph Stone Auditorium, on the corner of Klipfontein and Protea roads in Athlone. The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost R100.

Book at Computicket or call Mr Sawyer on 021 447 8252 or 072 327 5023.