It all started with a video on Facebook.

Derek Plaatjies was waiting at the train station in False Bay. The current state of Metrorail meant that this wait was long. Guitar in hand, he started playing and signing. His trackside performance was captured by Genevieve Maxim, who posted the video to show her appreciation to the ‘talented guy’ who entertained them while they waited for the train. 

Entranced by his incredible voice, people started liking and sharing the video. Soon it went viral.

The video was picked up by KFM DJ Ryan O’Connor, who was blown away by Derek’s voice. On the Monday Breakfast show, Ryan declared it his mission to find the mysterious train musician and help turn him to become Cape Town’s next star.

Genevieve Maxim posted another video, word got out and soon the KFM Breakfast team found him. Derek was a student of the Rainbow Academy, an NPO which runs a vocational training programme in performing arts and business for talented disadvantaged youth.


Within a day, KFM Breakfast team organised a gig for Derek, where he did a special acoustic performance and debuted his first song. Ryan brought Derek on the show and got him in a studio to record his first track. A number of businesses also came on board as sponsors to help Derek reach his full potential.

Not only does this story show us how much talent we have hidden in our city, it is a testament to how much good we can do as a community when we work together. Ryan O’Connor would have never known of Derek’s talent, were it not for the thousands of people who rallied behind him. As a community, we shared the video to give Derek exposure, followed the story on the radio and social media to show our support and helped him get one step closer to his dream.

Here’s hoping we see a lot more of Derek Plaatjies.

Photography courtesy KFM

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