Hendrik Baird

Hendrik is the Station Manager at GaySA Radio. Born in Kimberley, Hendrik taught himself to play the piano with the Jannie Raath method at age six, developed and interest in performing magic by the age of eight and was a regular performer in primary and high schools, eventually obtaining a BA (Drama) Hons degree at the University of Pretoria. He has worked in almost all aspects of the entertainment industry, in front and behind the scenes.

After a stint as a full time actor in Bloemfontein, he worked in community arts in the deeply rural village of Lokaleng in Taung. Here he taught thousands of children and adults in the Drama department of the Mmabana Cultural Centre, hosting and directing/producing a number of productions, competitions and events. During his time at Mmabana Taung Hendrik conceptualized and managed the North West Cultural Calabash, a rural developmental arts festival focused on high school learners and young adults. It was hosted in association with the North West Department of Arts and Culture through the Mmabana Foundation, with the support of the Transnet Foundation.

This successful event was hosted between 1994 and 2010 and eventually consisted of sixteen regional auditions in various performing and other art disciplines, with four semi-final events held in each of the districts of the North West Province. The event culminated in a four-day festival held in Taung, where hundreds of young people competed in various categories. At the same time, professional and community drama, dance, music and other productions were invited to perform in the various venues in and around Mmabana Taung. At the same time, jazz, pop and gospel performances were held with thousand of people attending from all over the country. This became one of the premier events on the province’s calendar.

Hendrik worked as the Director of the BAT Centre Trust in Durban, an arts centre situated next to the Maritime Museum on Durban Harbour. This individualistic little centre has space for performance, art production and exhibition, conference, music, retail, and a bar and restaurant. When his contract with the BAT Centre ended, Hendrik returned to freelance performance for a few years, reinvigorating his magic performance with a new show that subsequently toured extensively, both on the children’s party and the art festival circuit.

Hendrik has been seen in several TV adverts, including two for Nando’s (the most famous one being this one) and the most recent for VW Jetta. Hendrik has worked behind the scenes for a number of TV commercials, as well as appearing in countless TV series and soapies. He has been on the silver screen in movies such as Max and Mona and Gabriël. He was seen in stage productions such as The Jungle Book and Aladdin at the People’s Theatre, Portrait of Dorian Gray at Wits Theatre, and a year-long stint in My Vrou se Man se Vrou with among others Tobie Cronje, playing the State Theatre for six months before touring to Carnival City in Springs, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and returning to Carnival City.

After returning to the Cultural Calabsh for a few years, Hendrik started work in the LGBTQ+ field when he first started a local organisation, Gay Umbrella, then joined OUT LGBTQ+ Well-being’s field office in Mafikeng. This led to him becoming involved in research led by UNISA Centre for Applied Psychology which was conducted within the province and for which Hendrik penned the final report.

Hendrik studied to become a non-medical hypnotherapist and moved back to Pretoria to start a Hypnotherapy practice. He also became interest in Buddhist philosophy, specifically the practice of bodichitta, which is a spontaneous wish to attain enlightenment motivated by great compassion for all sentient beings, accompanied by a falling away of the attachment to the illusion of an inherently existing self.

After recovering from a heart attack and double bypass surgery, Hendrik found himself in a tough place and had to find a way to use the extensive knowledge he has built up over the past thirty years of working within various fields within the entertainment industry in order to benefit the next chapter of his life. And so, purely by chance and coincidence, he became a shareholder in GaySA Radio. Using his vast experience to draw in, he is now busy building this new business from the ground up, piece by piece, using creative ways to innovate and experiment and come up with new models that will be useful in the future.

In order to achieve this, he enrolled for a Master’s degree in Journalism and Media at the age of 54 to make sure that he has more skills to add to his basket.

Hendrik has no notion of retiring, and will work till the day he can do no more. His dreams for the future include a yoga teacher’s training course in India, and travelling the world to meet LGBTQ+ people everywhere.

At the moment though, he is working very hard every day to make GaySA Radio the best damn little LGBTQ+ r@dio station on the planet!