biography

When Louise Smit (nee Bekker) thinks of her childhood in Paarl, the tedious practising of scales on the piano springs to her mind. Her father, an ardent pianist, wanted to make virtuosi of all his children. But Louise would rather have liked to dance on top of the piano. She felt restricted by the eight octaves.

Bedtime was story time. Her mother, a teacher and animated storyteller, kept the six children spellbound with her amazing stories.

After happy schooldays at La Rochelle Girls' High, she studied Drama at the University of Stellenbosch. She then did charitable work in Malawi, Central Africa, for four years. She performed indigenous folktales with the children in the rural areas. This led to weekly children's radio programmes in the Chicewa - language.

Returning to South Africa, she joined the Civic Theatre in Johannesburg as puppeteer before accepting the position as programme director at the SABC - TV division. Her first programmes, Haas Das se Nuuskas (a rabbit newsreader wearing flashy ties) and Wielie Walie, were national hits. She also created and directed programmes in isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sotho, Pedi, SetTswana and English.

In 1980 she built her own TV - studio. Twenty years later she sold it to Red Pepper Productions.

She loves cooking while Mozart's music loudly fills the house. Reading is a passion. Annually she also reads all Roald Dahl books illustrated by Quentin Blake. It lets her laugh. And that is what she achieves with her own stories: she makes children laugh. She is married, lives in Cape Town and has a daughter, Corneli Smit. She now writes full time.

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Main Awards

Seven Artes Awards for best Television programmes (equivalent of Emmy)South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Unima Puppet Award for best contribution to puppetry in South Africa.

Prix de Jeunesse Award, Munich, 1996 for Kideo.

Tokyo International Award for innovation, Kideo.

Golden Plume Award for her contribution and excellence from the South African Broadcastng Corporation.

La Rochelle Girls' High, Paarl, national level award for Outstanding Acievement (2010)

Two Star Tonight Awards, Star Tonight newspaper, for director of Liewe Heksie as well as director and creator of Wielie Walie and Haas Das.

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