People always react the same way when they hear that I live with the enigmatic ball of ‘exploSIV’ energy that is award winning actor and comedian, Siv Ngesi.
“Wow, how do you put up with that?” “Wow, life must be crazy” “Wow, he must be a handful”
And here’s the truth, ‘wow’s aside’ : He’s the greatest room mate any human could want.
I want to take today, the 18th October – Siv’s birthday – to write a few reasons why Siv is so ImpresSIV.
We once had to leave a comedy show early because Siv was roasting us a honey glazed duck, stuffed with peaches. A dish he’d decided to cook on a whim. It was finally ready to eat around 11pm. We took it out, took a few photos of its glory – high fived eachother, and then sat together in silence as we ate it from the oven dish (Siv doesn’t “do” veggies.)
Siv is the perfect brother, one day when I was sobbing over a particularly bad heartbreak over BBM to him – he came home early, with a present. Not chocolates, not flowers… nothing ‘useless’. No, he gave me a book: ‘Why Men Love Bitches’ and told me to stop being too nice.
On valentines day, he gave me a bunch of red roses. For no reason, Because he knew I wasn’t going to get anything else.
And it’s not just me he cares about. Anyone he considers a friend, he’s actively interested in other people’s lives. Checking in, following up – phoning to say hi. More than I do. I’m trying to be more like him.
Last year on his birthday I told him that ‘this year’ was going to be even better. He proved me right. With a smash hit one man show, Race Card (that even Helen Zille came to watch) and his starring role in Copposites opening tomorrow in cinemas. I can’t wait to see how much MORE proud i’m going to be of him in 2013.
He loves his mother
When he had his mother do a voice over for the opening of his latest one man show, Race Card, he laughed so hard at the way she delivered the line that he played the recording about a hundred times, howling with laughter until tears ran down his cheeks.
The day after the above photo, Siv’s mom messaged him to say, “You have made my life. Amazing. Watching my baby up there on the big screen, how many mothers get to do that?”
Siv is the perfect example of “if you’re going to do something, do it well – or don’t do it at all” Everything he touches turns to BOOM. And not in the negative Taliban sense, but in the Siv sense of EXPLO-SIV. I remember him plotting his latest Grahamstown Arts Festival Run, how he thought of flyers, posters, strategies above and beyond the norm. I worried (like any concerned family member) in case it wasn’t going to go as well as he was bargaining on, i didn’t want anything to pop his optimistic bubble.
What a naive worrier I was. This is the text I got a couple of days in. “I’m on the cover of ANOTHER newspaper. I know I said i was going to murder, but I didn’t expect this kind of a massacre!”
Siv had done it again. Most sold tickets at the festival.
I actively try to be more like him in my ambition and optimism.
He Reaches Out.
Little known fact. For a guy that gets flown around the country to appear on a stage for 20mins at exorbitant fees, Siv also dedicates hours and hours of his time for free. He doesn’t publicise this because it’s not done for any reason other than that he truly cares. He’s often visiting the Red Cross and other children’s homes. He goes to High Schools to do speeches to motivate young people. He takes kids to matric dances, or appears at their validictories – just to make them feel special.
About a year ago, Siv was taking a girl to her matric dance. She was over the moon with excitement. He still had his (soon to be) old BMW, en route to her house, some gaskett or something blew (excuse my lack of car terminology) He opened the bonnet and something exploded steam ALL over his arm. Creating a giant welt and blister. The kind of wound that you would wince at if I showed you a photo of it.
We all know how much a burn stings.
What did Siv do? Did he phone and cancel like any normal person would? Certainly like a well known, famous person could.
Of course not. He knew she’d be heart-broken. He didn’t even tell them he had these blisters on his arm under the suit. It was the arm that she clung to in photos… an action he later confessed made him wince inside.
At the very end of the evening he went to the emergency room where the doctor marvelled at how he’d managed to last an entire evening with no treatment.
That story shows the kind of commitment, dedication and mind power Siv has. And none of it was for his own gain.
Siv’s always randomly singing at the top of his lungs. He’s obsessed with Broadway musicals and is certainly the gayest straight guy I know. He sings along to RENT and Smash and Glee. He belts out Josh Groban, Adele and has a personal affinity to Queen.
I remember after my first tough comedy gig. I was in Joburg and texting Siv how much my heart hurt that it didn’t go as well as it usually did. He was sending me encouraging messages, and genuinely understood (that’s one thing we definitely have in common. our need to excel on stage) then a few hours later, I got a voice file from him. I openend it and it was a recording of him singing along to Queen, “The show must go on”.
He’s My Family.
When I was recently debating over moving to Joburg for my comedy career. Siv said that it broke his heart to admit it, but he thought that it was the wisest choice for my success. I replied that he was my ‘home’ and I didn’t want to lose ‘home’. Siv then said “No, comedy is your home. I am your family. I will always be there.”
So In conclusion… “Wow, it must be hard work living with someone like that”
The answer is - No. It’s the easiest thing I’ve ever had to do.
I have a new brother. A person who constantly pushes me to be a better and better version of myself. A person who’s dreams for me are bigger than I’d ever dare hope for myself.
A person who loves as hard as he laughs. A person who is genuine, funny, kind, compassionate and that the city of Cape Town honours every day at Noon. Listen for it at the next strike of 12. It’s a resounding BOOM – to remind you that you’re living in the City of SIV.
Happy Birthday. It’s an honour.
If you don’t already. The best birthday gift is if you Follow Siv here. @iamSivN
Or Like him here. Sivuyile “Siv” Ngesi