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The Cape’s Golden Voice

Rouvaun's ready to rock 'n roll for racing

The golden voice of Rouvaun Smit, a popular feature of Cape racing for 25 years, has called champions from Durbanville and Kenilworth, to one of the world’s greatest racemeetings at the historic Epsom Racecourse in Britain.

The born-and-bred Capetonian was the first international racecaller invited to Dubai, the year of Meydan’s champagne opening.

Rouvaun has also had the passionate crowd on the edge of their seats at the Champ de Mars in Mauritius, and is the voice on virtual racing on Tellytrack after hours.

That’s an impressive racing CV with a strong radio broadcasting background, that makes him an instantly recognisable personality in his home city of Cape Town.

Rouvaun Smit

Suited and booted! (photo: supplied)

But in February 2019, the dulcet tones of the veteran broadcaster and commentator, South Africa’s only racecaller of colour, faded quietly from the canvas of Cape racing. The volume switch had been turned to zero, the air-waves were quiet and nobody was saying anything.

Following inquiries from our readers and his legion of fans in a community passionate about horseracing, we contacted Rouvaun at the time for a comment.

While he co-hosted the Supersport broadcast of the 2019 Vodacom Durban July with Neil Andrews from Hollywoodbets Greyville, the experienced communicator was reluctant to speak about his quiet exit from Kenilworth eagle’s nest months earlier.

He just didn’t feel that an outporing of his emotions in the media would be the honourable action for his own professionalism and dignity. And, more importantly, he didn’t see it being of any benefit for racing in a trying climate.

“I have always taught my children to deal with issues with consideration and to take cognisance of all the angles and implications. Yes, I was retrenched. Yes, I wasn’t happy. I’m only 52, after all and nobody had ever said I was doing a bad job. So it was a blow from left field and I tried hard to negotiate and to try and correct what I perceived were the wrongs. But, life goes on and, while I miss the racing terribly, I have had great pleasure in getting involved with the Governing Body at my son’s school in the Southern Suburbs. It has kept me busy. Education is a very dynamic and fascinating area in these times,” he laughs.

Watch Rouvaun’s Epsom feature call:

Rouvaun has been married to Rachelle for 26 years.

He lives five minutes away from Kenilworth and is proud of the achievements of his offspring. His daughter, Lyndall, is a grade 6 teacher at a primary school in Plumstead and son Davin – who would also one day like to follow in Dad’s footsteps in the commentary box  – is nearing the end of his high school career. What a trying time to be in matric!

“Children define our lives. We are a close knit family. The retrenchment has been a traumatic event that caused stress and tested our faith at times. Cynicism and anger can be draining emotions, as we have all experienced, But the human spirit is amazingly durable. Look at the trauma that so many are going through during the coronavirus pandemic right now. That tends to put the ‘smaller’ issues and obstacles in our lives – which appear so daunting at the time – into proper perspective.”

As to the possibility of hearing him call the champions home at Kenilworth again, Rouvaun is philosophical.

Watch this great call in one of the finishes of the century at Kenilworth:

“The racing industry is evolving. There has been change – I believe, for the better. I’m here, passionate as always and ready to call when they give me the thumbs-up. I have always been from the school that suggests that life is too short for grudges. Forgive, forget and move on. Racing is bigger than any one individual. And the sport needs us all right now. In fact, more than ever it is time to bury the hatchets and ego’s.”

Let’s hope that local racing and the Cape’s top racecaller will be back on our tracks sooner rather than later!

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28 comments on “The Cape’s Golden Voice

  1. Sydney Lenders says:

    Thanks for letting us know what happened…I was always proud of him. But, retrenchment instead of upliftment. This is really sad as he devoted his life to horseracing and i have been playing for 33 years. He will always be one of my favorite commentators. This is very sad and I cant even understand or hear clearly what the other commentatrs are saying as they don’t make it exciting as Rouvaun did. This sport is for the favoured and rich I guess.

  2. Emildean Visagie says:

    Sad to read how Rouvaun had to exit the racing world .I for one will miss his racing voice .Good luck in your new ventures.

  3. John says:

    He long way better than Clyde, who seems to call only on the big races in the country, who gave him this job, seems to have his finger in all the big races only. Why?

    Back to Rovaun, bring him back

  4. Shanil says:

    Most unique in his booming voice. Enjoyed his commentary. Was not afraid to call out the winner in a close call at the finish. Please get him to guest commentate at big race meetings like former commentators turned RA big shots do.

  5. Shaun says:

    Bring Rouvaun back please. He is one of the best commentators in SA. A gentleman and well liked by the punters.

  6. Brian says:

    How on earth can any sane person come to the conclusion this man must be retrenched!

    I thought he must have received from overseas.

    Another example of insanity running racing and they wonder why government doesn’t take them seriously

  7. Dillon says:

    As the reach the middle of the bend Legak Eagle leads by 2 lengths. Heads turn for home social distancing makes a bid for the extreme outside..Heads up heads down Lockdown gets up on the line. Dont worry you were tops Mr Smit.

  8. Anil says:

    Please bring him back he adds excitement to the Capetown racimg.
    What where they thinking to retrench him.

  9. Livingstone says:

    Race-calling requires great skill and Rouvaun has tons of it. Bringing him back makes a lot of sense, particularly as we move towards overhauling the industry.

  10. paul says:

    Thank God we have found Rouvan!!! Looking forward to hearing your commentaries again. Good Luck

  11. Michael says:

    Agree with the rest of the comments here, seems a terrible decision to retrench someone with that wealth of experience and who was, in my view at least, the best race caller in the country.

  12. Pieta says:

    The guy is world class..I can’t believe it..there must be more to this.

    Hope to hear you again soon Rouvaun, unlike others your voice does not have mute button.

    Just weird that I’ve yet to find ANYONE that does not enjoy your commentary ???

  13. Adams says:

    Yes there is much more that no one is saying. No other color has been given the fair chance to call a race.

  14. waynefouche says:

    As long as he stops using his customary opening call ” And they’re off to a PERFECT START” when in fact a few horses are actually slow away.

  15. Donald says:

    Top race caller , world class , no doubt as Pieta comments !

    In my post last week headed the ” young ones ” I stated that I rated Rouvaun Smit the second best race caller ever produced in South Africa behind the Ali Cat , and I stand by that statement !

  16. Mark says:

    I always rated Rouvaun, it’s a pity about his retrenchment,i wish him all the best for the future.

  17. Adrian Jansen says:

    Brilliant race caller and reading what he says about being retrenched, seems to be a first class person. Surely this talented man needs to be accommodated. FAIRVIEW?? Bumpy must be reaching retirement fairly soon. What a coup that would be

  18. Louis Goosen says:

    I miss Rouvaun. One of my top 3 callers ever. And his reaction to being retrenched oozes class. Really hope to hear him calling again, sooner rather than later.

  19. Geoff Clark says:

    Well said Louis Goosen. I echo your sentiments.

  20. Brendon says:

    @Louis, I echo your comments re Rouvaun.

    Sadly, there were too many bystanders, once again, that were too pre-occupied with their own agendas at Kenilworth Racing and Phumelela and they chose not to challenge the irrational decision making from the Eiffel Tower to save a few Rand!

  21. Zambucca says:

    What about smiley moosa very colorful commentator he to needs to be brought back

  22. Zambucca says:

    What about smiley moosa very colorful commentator he to needs to come back

  23. Dennis Isaacs says:

    The Racing Industry owes Rouvaun Smit an apology..its a disgrace that a man of his quality and integrity was retrenched…I always thought it was Rouvauns own decision to quit.
    Get him back and improve the racing industry tremendously.Rouvaun is WORLD CLASS

  24. G Goliath says:

    Jobs for pals and family. Shaheen+Rouvaun =?
    This industry has no shame.

  25. John Steenberg says:

    I am a recent addition to racing in South Africa. Even an ordinary judge will tell you that he is the best caller in South Africa . I cringe every time I have to listen to his screaming counterpart

  26. Rian Rix says:

    I agree with you John , he is a natural and missed
    He is the only voice of Cape Racing

  27. Vilma Ruby De Bruyn says:

    The best ever.
    Would like to know how the back operation went.Geg better soon you are the best God Bless and take care…..

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Vilma
      Visit our Sporting Post Facebook page – there is a pic of Rouvaun sitting up during his rehab this week. So seems like good progress.

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