|Johannesburg is a rugged city, which has been good to Patrick Mynhardt, actor and raconteur, and resident of the city for 42 years.|
Mynhardt is well-known for his interpretation of Herman Charles Bosman's Oom Schalk Lourens, a character created by Bosman in over 180 short stories, based on his short teaching experience in the Groot Marico district of the North-West Province of South Africa.
Patrick Mynhardt died on 25 October 2007 at the age of 75
Mynhardt was born in Bethulie in the Free State in 1932 and after three unsuccessful years at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, decided he wanted to be an actor. In 1953 he set out for Pretoria to become an actor, and a year later moved to London, where he spent six years acting, in between being a dish washer, potato peeler and barman.
In 1960 he returned to South Africa and settled in Johannesburg. "That is 42 years ago and I have never regretted coming back," he says. "I could never live in Cape Town or Durban. If I do a show out of town and come back late at night, I always get a thump in my heart to see the lights of Johannesburg."
Mynhardt lived in Hillbrow in the early 1960s, which was "exciting and vibrant". His favourite haunt was the Café Wien, in Kotze Street, where he sat and "looked for girls".
"I also used to love going to the tea shops of John Orr's and Stuttafords, where I could sit and look at people. I love people," he says, smiling.
He then moved to Northcliff and brought his mother up from the Free State to live with him, to see the view to the Magaliesberg mountains, some 40 kilometres away. After two years he moved to Orchards, where he bought a house and lived there with his brother and sister.
He married in 1971 and moved again to Hillbrow, sharing a flat with his wife. Then he bought his present house in Norwood. "I wouldn't leave here, this house is big enough for me."
Mynhardt has lived in Norwood for 28 years, and is busy "24 hours a day" - he has just finished a 500-page autobiography. He still loves acting, and goes to auditions, and he is still in demand to perform his autobiographical "The boy from Bethulie", or one of the Bosman shows, or his combined "The best of Bosman and Bethulie".
Now 70, he says held still like to tour Australia with a Bosman show, for expats nostalgic for South Africa, but he is waiting for an invitation from that part of the world. In the meantime he continues to enjoy Johannesburg. "I walk the dogs on weekends. I tell the maid what to cook for supper. I'm just a housewife."