Well-known singer, actor and Pretoria FM radio presenter, Riaan Grobler, came very close to meeting his Maker when he contracted the feared Covid-19 virus. Still, he lived to tell the tale and to bake another cake.
Kneading into the sticky paste (that will eventually be the topping on a cake), Riaan Grobler looked as pale as the marchpane he was working with. “This, he said, sounding as proud as a peacock, “is going to be turned into two racing cars. Decorations on a cake for an eight-year-old boy”, he grins looking to Marius Bester, the general manager and da cake boss of Centurion Hospice, for advice.
“Yes”, Marius said, “it is perfect… but you can …”
And then they fell into a long discussion about cakes, and decorations, baking aids and toppings.
After Covid-19 hit the world, Riaan’s singing career fell apart, as he could not perform on stage. He found a new hobby to fill the hours between the microphone and going to bed – baking cakes…
As he was a friend of Centurion Hospice, he enlisted the help of Marius, who is indeed the cake boss of Centurion, to assist him with the inner workings of cake decorations and creations…
His hobby quickly turned into “extra pocket money” as he started getting orders from mothers and fathers, from grandmothers and businesswomen. Cakes for special occasions and birthdays.
And, while baking, Riaan stayed at home – too scared to stick his nose out of his front door. And then, in June this year, he contracted the feared virus. He became a statistic, just another number on an infographic.
“I am much better now, but I really thought I was going to die when I was admitted to hospital. In fact, I left my last will and testament on my refrigerator. I was ready to meet my Maker,” says Riaan.
After three days in the intensive care unit and two weeks in bed at home, Riaan is, once again, as fit as can be expected from a crooked fiddle. “I still get tired easily,” he murmures and I definitely have to gain some weight,” he laughs- “The worst part, however, was to see how hospital staff carried the body bags from the rooms. People died around me. He also had feverish dreams, nightmares, and says that for days he could not distinguish between reality and fiction, between life and death.”
In April this year, he launched a charity project called Ek will Lewe vir Môre. He treated senior citizens residing at old age homes with his special cakes, milk tarts and music. “There are a lot of older people who just sit in their rooms – waiting for the time to pass. This is my way of giving something back to them,” he said.
*Riaan encourages old ages homes from all over South Africa to contact him if they want a free show and try out some of his delicious cakes. You can contact him by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org