After 45 years as an entertainer in the music industry, a tribute show is being arranged to honour the contribution Toyer Abrahams made to the industry.
The show, called Toyer Abrahams – the man, the music, the legend, will take the form of a musical, and will be staged at the Joseph Stone Auditorium in Athlone on Friday October 19, Saturday October 20 and Sunday October 21.
Mr Abraham’s journey in the music industry started when he was still a young boy.
“My father was a coach for Malay choirs, my father’s uncles were all wedding singers, and doing qasidas. My father was a foreman at a school and I used to help him sweep. Whenever I was at that school, I used to run to the piano to play music. I was surrounded by music growing up, so it was just a natural progression for me. I too started to sing in the Malay choir,” Mr Abrahams said.
Soon he found himself singing at various functions and fund-raisers. Later on in life, he became a bus driver, but he still performed at shows.
At one of these events, someone recognised him from his childhood, and he was then asked to join The Great Pretenders. There he learnt “what entertainment is about”. From there, he chose to enter a solo career.
“It was not an easy road. I was rejected by promoters. I was given a raw deal. I then decided to have my own shows and help others who were in my position. I used to host shows at Lentegeur hospital, the Joseph Stone, the Luxurama, and even the Good Hope Centre – it just grew bigger. Then I got divorced, sold the house and cars, and went to Spain. That was my first international experience. When I came back from Spain, I got married again, and pushed my own singing career aside and focused more on other artists.”
Three years ago, because of health complications, he lost his one leg, and has been in a wheelchair since.
“There is a lesson in everything God puts you through. I have realised that in all my challenges, God wants to be closer to me,” Mr Abrahams said.
It was his nephew, Abdul Aziz Schroeder, who approached Mr Abrahams about putting up a show for him. Mr Schroeder not only looks like his uncle, but will also play the role of Mr Abrahams in the production.
“My uncle played a pivotal role in my career. I am a production engineer because of him. When he left the shores, he left me equipment, and whenever I was not sure how to use it, I would give him a call and he would guide me through it. I felt I needed to give him recognition – not just for me – but for all the other artists he has helped. It is an honour and privilege for me to play my uncle. I don’t think I will be able to achieve in two lifetimes what he has been able to achieve. He is an icon in the community. He took anybody from the streets and identified their talents,” Mr Schroeder said.
Despite his physical challenges, Mr Abrahams is still upbeat and positive about life.
“I don’t want people to pity me, but I want people to know me and other artists. Being an entertainer is a cruel fantasy, and I want to stay as humble as I can,” Mr Abrahams said.
For tickets to the event, at R120 each, call 073 308 6758 or 021 696 6992. For tickets to the Sunday show, call 076 665 6224.