Clive Hay tells all in memoir

STORYTELLER: "This book is a work of two years in execution, 40 years in the making, and three years in the writing," Hay said. Picture: Geoff Jones
STORYTELLER: "This book is a work of two years in execution, 40 years in the making, and three years in the writing," Hay said. Picture: Geoff Jones

In 2013, former 1980s South African pop star Clive Hay was hit by a wave of nostalgia.

The Quakers Hill resident decided to put pen to paper and write his own biography as a first-time author.

Hay describes the book, Magirus: The Story Of A Second-Class Citizen, as a project of love – easy in the extreme to write, but bittersweet and laborious in the review process.

“It was a time in my life when I was on the beginning of a journey to manhood,” he said.

“It’s an account of my compulsory two year service in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in the late 1970s.”

The light-hearted tale is a coming of age story about Hay as a young man determined to carve his way in the defence force by forging a path in the military band for his own future music career.

Hay said he chose to write about that particular time in his life because it entailed some genuine “rollercoaster moments”.

I always felt I had a somewhat unusual tale to tell of life in the military in South Africa.

Clive Hay

“My experiences at this really taught me to make the most of the challenging experiences life throws your way,” he said.

“The army is a really tough place and for the most of it, people don’t get to do what they want. They get given a job and that’s that.

“I actually got given a chance to do something that I actually loved for almost three quarters of my time there.”

Born in Durban, South Africa, musical training for Hay started at 11-years-old on guitar and 13-years-old on the piano.

“When I was 10-years-old my parents bought me a toy guitar and saw that there was something musical there,” Hay said.

“I went on to play in my school band Jake and Astrofax, then army band Magirus, then started a professional music life in November 1979 as a solo musician.”

Throughout the 80s Hay recorded various singles, the biggest being Eyes of the Beholder with Gresham records in 1984.

“I feel very blessed to have had lived a musical life, it’s taken me all around the world,” he said.

Hay said his first novel won’t be his last. He has started his next bio-novel with the working title Savannah: The Story Of A Second-Class Band.

“The next one will be about my start in the world of professional music in South Africa,” he said.

  • Purchase Magirus: The Story Of A Second-Class Citizen at clivehay.com.