The wizard of Khayelitsha leaving the world spellbound
The handkerchief in Olwethu Dyantyi’s hands turns into a golf ball. A split second later, that ball transforms into four. How did he do it? The kids in the audience are spellbound. They follow Dyantyi with wide eyes and dropped jaws, waiting to see what happens next. He reaches forward to grab a table, and instead it flies away from him. The room erupts with laughter and applause. That’s the power of magic. Dyantyi first encountered the art during a school show. “When I saw magicians doing crazy stuff, it was mind-blowing for me,” he says. The mystery left him wanting more. But first, he had to convince his family. “I told my parents that I wanted to become a magician,” Dyantyi says. “The answer was no.”
Believing magic was related to witchcraft, Dyantyi’s parents had their reservations. A lack of understanding meant that many people were afraid and wary of magicians. Eager to become one anyway, Dyantyi started attending the College of Magic, an NPO in Cape Town that uses magic for social empowerment. He was only 12 at the time. As Dyantyi’s family learnt more about the skill behind the illusions, they began to support his interest. Since graduating in 2009, Dyantyi has taken magic all around the world – even performing in Las Vegas. Dyantyi also made it to the finals of South Africa’s Got Talent in 2013, and received the title of South African Grand Prix Magic Champion at the 2015 South African Magic Championships. His success isn’t a trick, but rather the result of sheer hard work and an inexhaustible love for what he does.
Today, working with children in his hometown of Khayelitsha is what Dyantyi is most passionate about. “As a young kid it was a miracle for me to see someone making furniture fly,” he says. “I just want to share that.” Taking his illusions to schools, Dyantyi has the power to spread wonder and merriment, while building the children’s esteem. He encourages them to try their hand at performing, teaching them tricks as well as the ability to stand up on stage and amaze a crowd. With every sleight of hand and burst of flame, Dyantyi is working to make his craft understandable and accessible to all. A true magician never reveals his secrets. But here’s something Dyantyi will let on: “Magic is something that everyone can do.”