When Johan Stemmet received a Lifetime Achievement Award last year at the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs), the gesture was a befitting recognition for the amiable television personality whose long career on television has been defined by milestones.
After 28 years as producer and presenter of Noot Vir Noot, the country’s biggest and longest-running musical quiz show, last month Stemmet announced that he would step down as host. The announcement marked the end of an era in South African television.
For close to three decades the likeable, all-rounder presenter with trademark colourful shirts and a charismatic stage presence has hosted the Afrikaans edutainment game programme with grace and remarkable sense of humour.
With a resident live band of accomplished instrumentalists, he has entertained and educated his audiences about some of the best tunes and artists across the world.
And although the show is primarily aimed at Afrikaans-speaking viewers, it has enjoyed a wider appeal from viewers across various cultures.
The country’s recognisable television face’s last appearance on Thursday, 24 January 2019 meant that he had achieved 700 episodes in 43 uninterrupted seasons since its inception on 27 July 1991 – an unmatchable record and stuff of Guinness World Records for South African television.
The final episode lived up to expectations as it reflected the usual high presenting standards that have made the 66-year-old host a true South African television icon.
The four celebrity contestants – Pietman Geldenhuys, Andries Vermeulen, Dowwe Dolla and Sewende Laan actress, Hildegard White (Bonita Meintjies) – gave a good account of themselves as they offered correct answers to the questions and clues presented.
They thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they dished out performances of their own and at the end of the 60-minute show, their winnings were all for a good cause –charity. Born in Springbok, a small town in the Northern Cape, Stemmet began his career as a high school Afrikaans teacher although he has initially shown interest in law.
Then in 1980 he joined the SABC as a producer, director and presenter of variety and music programmes on television. This means that he has been in the spotlight for at least 38 years – ten years before the launch of Noot Vir Noot.
South African television was only four years old when viewers saw his face for the first time on the small screen. It’s an achievement that makes him the longest continuous running presenter in the history of South African television.
Throughout his colourful and illustrious career, his on-screen and off-screen endeavours have been rewarded with a long string of accolades – notably no less than three Avanti Awards, an Artes Award, two SAFTAs and an SABC Golden Plume Award for his thirty-year contribution to South African television.
On the other hand, he has been honoured with a number of awards from Afrikaans cultural organisations and various local magazines for his contribution to television and the local music industry as a singer, composer and recording artist specialising in Afrikaans songs.
Since 1980 he has released no less than fourteen albums. Noot Vir Noot’s popularity has extended beyond the borders of South Africa. The show’s adapted format was screened in the United Kingdom for five seasons as My Kind of Music, presented by Michael Barrymore on the London-based ITV channel.
Forty-nine episodes were aired between 1998 and 2002.
Although Johan Stemmet won’t be seen again on Noot Vir Noot, the show’s publicists have indicated that he will continue working behind the scenes on his brainchild through his production company Stemmburg Television – named after himself and co-founder, Johan van Rensburg.
His successor will be announced in due course.