Behind every man who strives to be great, there’s already a woman who is great. Mine goes by the name of Heidi Hoy, now Heidi Marais – the most free spirited woman I know. Come to think of it, the only woman I know.

We’ve been together for 27 years this year. Together we’ve seen it all. Bought all the T-shirts, in all different sizes. We’ve been through thicker and thinner. Had our ups and our downs. But we stuck it out, because that’s what life’s about.

She’s been the woman behind me every step of the way from the day we opened the doors to Joe Public, our first advertising shop in Loop Street, Cape Town. And she walked beside me up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for education in South Africa.

She wiped my tears of despair when we lost half our business in 2006 and cried with me in joy when we bought Joe back from DraftFCB in 2009.

Together we celebrated my first Loerie Grand Prix back in 1997, and together in 2008 we celebrated something greater than the greatest award: The birth of our boy, Jasper.

She’s waited for me thousands of nights when I worked late and is beside me every morning when I rise before the sun.

She was my biggest groupie when I played for The Kin, Guns For Hire, Helvetica Bold (Helvetiva Italic when we had too much Tequila) and the Voodudes.

She’s the star of all my songs and the center of my Universe. She’s the reason I turned my life around and the reason I will never turn back.

But she never would have been with me if it weren’t for you, Sugar Man.

You see, I lost her heart at the end of High School, a low point of my life. I lost my girl to a boy who could play the guitar.


So I learned to play the axe, Sugar Man. I learned to play each song off your first album. And together with Crucify Your Mind, Hate Street Dialogue, I Wonder, and Forget It, I convinced her not to forget me.

Because of you, Sugar Man, I won my girl back. And that’s a concrete cold fact.

I watched ‘Searching For Sugar Man’ tonight. It left me with tears of awe. So here’s to you, Sixto Rodriguez. You’ve had an impact on my life in more ways than you may ever know.


Pepe Marais | @joepublicagency



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