(By Robin-Lee Francke, ANA)
CAPE TOWN, May 28 (ANA) – "Singing is not a hobby, it's my passion." Those are the words of a father of three who refuses to allow a disability to define him.
Zahier Samsodien, 37, fondly known as Rocket, from Kensington in Cape Town recently released a hit video which has gone viral across social media, titled "Dik of Quarantine", a parody of Andrea Bocelli's "Time To Say Goodbye".
Running at under three minutes, the video was written, directed and produced by Zahier himself in his home.
The lyrics explain how "dik" (fed up) he is of being stuck in quarantine, with no cigarettes because of the government's tobacco ban during lockdown.
Zahier, who is wheelchair-bound, uses local slang and colloquialisms to describe his frustrations, and his relatable references have social media users laughing until their stomachs ache.
Zahier, who prefers the pop and R&B genres, hits all the right notes in this classical ensemble that he filmed in black and white.
This is the first time the father of three has done a funny video.
"When I wrote it, I just wrote how I feel. It's relatable to everyone during this time of Covid-19," he says.
"Funny enough, it did better than all my other videos online," he jokes.
Zahier has revealed that social media users can look forward to a part-two, which he is finalising.
Zahier's journey has been filled with bumps along the way; however, his positive spirit will inspire anyone.
Zahier and his biggest supporters – his family. Photo: Zahier Samsodien;
He started singing in 1996 in his living room and his melodious voice caught the attention of a neighbour.
"I always sang in our Salt River home living room and one day a neighbour randomly came and asked me if I'd like to join a singing group.
"I happily agreed and joined the 4U band and had my first performance at a community concert in Salt River," Zahier says proudly.
He remained with the band for three years until he joined the popular Joie De Vivre band in 1999, and for the next decade he was living his dream.
"I have performed alongside amazing bands, such as The Boyz, Jag and Dejavu. I loved every minute on stage and singing popular songs worked the best on stage."
The group also had the privilege of being managed by media veteran and the University of the Western Cape's current media, marketing and communications manager, Gasant Abarder.
But Zahier's life changed forever on the first day of spring in 2010, just after the country hosted the World Cup.
He was in a dreadful accident on the N1 highway that left him paralysed from the waist down.
Zahier recalls: "I was working as a merchandiser for an electrical company. I was trying to avoid an accident as two cars were dicing (street racing) on the wet road that morning. I was driving a twincam Toyota Conquest and driving the speed limit when another vehicle pulled up next to me. I tried swerving and lost control of my vehicle," he says.
He says he crashed into a tree and struggled to get out of the car (which was a write-off) but he was stuck: "I tried getting out through the car's window but couldn't move. I remember still saying loudly that I must have broken my back.
"I waited for paramedics to arrive and was in hospital for two months," Zahier says.
Zahier's car after his accident in 2010 along the N1 highway. Photo: Zahier Samsodien;
He says he accepted his paralysis immediately
Married for 14 years now, he says along with the support of his wife, family and friends, music was one of the biggest ways of keeping him going.
"For the first five years after the accident I was unable to work but sat in my room, singing and writing music. Singing is what I love. A year later, I performed at a charity event hosted by Things on Wheels, a charity organisation run by my uncle, Kamile Abbas.
"I absolutely love being on stage," Zahier says.
He believes his previous work with the charity also assisted him in accepting his new lifestyle.
But, Zahier's sparkling new outlook on life has only made him more determined to succeed in the music industry.
"Growing up, Boyz II Men have always been my idol. I was at their first concert at Green Point Stadium. I was right in the front, so much so that I caught Shawn's (Stockman) top, but my mother threw the top away a year ago," he laughs.
His other idols include Westlife, Emo Adams, Nur Abrahams, Fagrie Isaacs and funny-man Waseef Piekaan.
To see more of Zahier's videos, feel free to check out his social media pages on Facebook: Rocky Sams Music Vids, or on YouTube at: Rocky Sams.
Zahier spent a decade as part of the band Joie De Vivre. Photo: Zahier Samsodien;