The first radio single by renowned South African-born actor, singer, and songwriter Neil Sandilands, has just been released and offers the highest quality work.
Per a press statement, Huistoe is about a postcard that the actor’s grandfather, Joe Sandilands, sent his grandmother, Nettie, during the Second World War.
“I am cautiously excited about this single,” Sandilands says.
“The song came knocking at my door in September 2022 while I was in Sydney, Australia. I remembered a postcard we had in our house that Grandpa Joe sent to Grandma Nettie during the Second World War.”
Sharing more about the song’s contents, Sandilands says what makes it relevant today is his reference to “the instability that the world has experienced (and is still experiencing) with the situation between Russia, the USA and China over the Ukraine issue.”
Sandilands opens up about his grandfather, revealing that he was a tank driver for the South African troops during the battle of Tobruk, Libya, in 1942.
“This postcard, now yellowed with time, was a photo of the pyramids in Egypt,” the Sweet Tooth actor says. “Inserted at the top right-hand corner is an image of Grandpa Joe in his military beret, and at the top left-hand corner, surely the only photo he had of his beloved Grandma Nettie.”
“Grandpa Joe did not have the same opportunities I had with regard to education and literacy, but he was able to write his name: Josef Willem Sandilands,” Sandilands says, adding that he was given his grandfather’s name at birth.
“I wondered what he would have liked to write to Grandma Nettie. A poem? A declaration of love? A song? I thought about the longing for an unscathed return home and reunion with the people you love, the environment you love, and the language and culture you know and love. In a way, I could relate.”
In addition to being inspired by the postcard, Sandilands says the second element of the song stemmed from “a personal experience I had far from South Africa, on the island of Kauai in the Pacific Ocean.”
“I was there in 1997. It is literally the other side of the planet. The road ends at Ke’e Beach. It is not humanly possible to drive further or be further away from your origin, Randfontein, South Africa. When I got back into the car and drove away, the thought occurred to me that it didn’t matter whether I was driving north, east, west, or south. In a way, I was travelling ‘home’.”
While it has only just been released, Sandilands performed the song during his recent Woorde en Akkoorde na die Noorde tour. He says the song became a fan-favourite, in his opinion, because “there is something universally relatable to homecoming, longing and yearning for the past, or simply put, home”.
Huistoe is now available on all digital platforms, along with the first single, Verkenner, released last week.