Sweet Doc Hoax?

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Update 2/26/2020:

Pale Bo, who I interviewed here, is reviving this story in his latest podcast. I still find the whole story hard to believe. If it’s a hoax, it’s a really good one. I still enjoy the .

[The Radio Vagabond] 148 – Finding Sugar in Cape Town #theRadioVagabond
podplayer.net/?id=96996290 via @PodcastAddict

May 14, 2014

I really enjoyed the documentary Sugar Man. Of course, I never heard of the lead character. Apparently no-one had, outside of South Africa and Detroit. Now the director is dead. Should I question the whole premise of the movie? Is it itself a tall tale?

Malik Bendjelloul, the Swedish filmmaker who won an Oscar for directing the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, was found dead Tuesday in Stockholm. He was 36.

The incredible story behind ‘Searching for Sugar Man’

According to The Associated Press, police spokesperson Pia Glenvik confirmed the death but did not specify the cause, though she ruled out crime as a possible reason.

Born in Sweden in 1977,

via ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ director Malik Bendjelloul found dead | Inside Movies | EW.com.

The movie was great, however. Even it is a total fabrication. I also like the music! Comments, musician fakeologists Simon Shack or Tom Dalpra?

Zack’s take: freetofindtruth.blogspot.com/2…

h/t Mrs. Fakeologist

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11 thoughts on “Sweet Doc Hoax?

  1. ab Post author

    Bob Lefsetz (who I read sometimes) weighed in two years ago, so it appears I am guilty of not doing great research.


    I don’t believe it.

    And even a cursory read of Wikipedia tells you it’s not true. Hell, this is a guy who toured Australia with Midnight Oil!

    1. Tom Dalpra

      So this guy called fake already?

      ”This is old school marketing at its worst… “60 Minutes”… Did you just surrender to the hype? Did you do no personal investigation? Did you not want to ruin the arc of the story?

      This is no different from Jonah Lehrer. The truth is messy, it’s hard to compartmentalize, it twists and turns and almost never results in a perfect story. If “60 Minutes” said Rodriguez toured Australia with Midnight Oil, that his records were rereleased by Sony long before this movie came out, the story wouldn’t work. ”

      And still the sham goes on?! Oscar winning documentary? Poor Malik too… Will the music live on? Altogether ”I wonder?”

      Who won the most Oscars of anyone by a long shot?

      Walt Disney

      As Malik said: ”It’s a Cinderella Story”.

  2. ab Post author

    Hate to debunk my own story, but perhaps this guy is real? This story just adds to the confusion.


    The documentary tells us that Rodriguez is a guy who put out two extremely obscure albums in the ’70s, had zero success, quit music, and became a regular Joe. That makes for a great story — the idea that the guy threw the albums out there and dropped off the map, unaware that his work had become huge on the other side of the globe years later. Well, we don’t know about you, but we haven’t met any regular Joes who spent years touring Australia with bands like Men at Work and Midnight Oil.

    Read more: www.cracked.com/article_20585_…

    1. Tom Dalpra

      Yeh, you nailed it. ‘This story just adds to the confusion.’

      This could be the cover story. They’re telling you it’s a load of contrivance, but what they’re still telling you is that he WAS huge in apartheid South Africa. These positions give the sceptical but wary ones a foothold and they settle for that. It’s enough bullshit to placate some people, if you get me?

      That seems to possibly be the BIG LIE here. I’m still far from convinced by any of the concert footage from his apparently triumphant 1998 return there(The docu(mocku)mentary of that – ‘dead men don’t tour’ or whatever, is posted below).

      I still sense this is an attempt to retro-craft culture. Re- write cultural history with the benefit of hindsight . A sort of weird Bob Dylany creation. Protest but comply. A Bono-like illusion of justice in the world.

      One interesting point, I thought, was that the film is called ”Looking For Sugarman”. Sugarman is the South African ‘investigator’ who found Sixto Rodriguez. WHY is the film called that?

      Was this an early working title?

      Further point of note; The first time director Swedish wonder boy Malik, who just committed suicide was a child actor and TV presenter from a media family. He was an actor more than he was an Oscar winning film producer.


  3. Tom Dalpra

    Ok. Sixto Rodriguez a.k.a Jesus.

    Good old Wonky:

    ”At one time[when?] he was arguably more famous than Elvis Presley in South Africa[citation needed], though he was mistakenly rumored there to have committed suicide.”

    Citation needed indeed!

    ”In 1991, both of his albums were released on CD in South Africa for the first time, which helped preserve his fame. However, few details of his life were known to his fans, and it was widely rumored that Rodriguez had killed himself during a concert in the 1970s.”

    Suicide on stage???!!! . ‘Few details of his life were known to fans’…ah yeh, I heard that one before…

    His two original Albums are called ”Cold Fact” and ”Coming From Reality”
    Oh and the ‘Live’ Albums ”Live Fact ” and ”Rodriguez Alive’... Ok, ok, ok, we get the message!

    Little details -”His film played ”at other films festivals including the True/False Film Festival.

    Sounds about right.

    ”Cornish singer-songwriter Ruarri Joseph covered Rodriguez’s song “Rich Folks Hoax” for his third studio album. ”

    He never charted anywhere as far as I can tell. There’s no chart position until his re-releases in 2012.

    ”Searching for Sugar Man won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary on February 10, 2013.

    On January 13, 2013, Searching for Sugar Man was nominated for and, on February 24, 2013, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th Academy Awards.[25] Rodriguez declined to attend the award ceremony as he did not want to overshadow the filmmakers’ achievement”

    Well, Awards...badges of dishonour.at that level, it seems to me.

    A mexican immigrants’ son. Worked hard for years for not much. Was politically active. Cared about his community. Songs used for ‘anti apartheid anthems’ in South Africa?

    He’s a created identity, I think. A presented reality. A manufactured role model. A social-engineering, -history-writing exercise and a business venture.

    He is a credible artist, in the sense that the musician playing this part can play and he’s got a great voice – if you like that sort of thing. I do. I’ve run an open mic every week for three years here in Cambridge and I see a constant troupe of singer song-writers coming through. He would be someone I’d call excellent. We’d say he’s ‘recordable’. These people exist. No one’s ever heard of them. He’s good. There’s talented people everywhere who never get in the charts.

    The production on his music is interesting. Claiming to be from 1970 and 1971 the whole vibe feels more like 1960’s ,at least, to me on first listen. I like it, but it feels more like a 2010’s treatment of a late sixties sound.

    Now, I believe we have the clincher. Starting from 4:40 in the video below, we have Sixto ( a 70 year old manual laborer who can’t stop flicking his nice hair) giving an interview to a nice group of folk at a Zulu Records event.

    The rather affected interviewer appears to feign nerves and puts a question to the audience. Classic technique. A nice lady then asks about his daughters.

    We hear that Sixto’s eldest daughter Sandra is a 20 year army veteran who was there when the Berlin Wall came down and served in Korea, Egypt and took part in Desert Storm. He adds that when she was 18 he didn’t want her to do it but she did it anyway.

    His middle daughter Reagan works in hospitals -‘recieving,’, he says, then quickly corrects himself. She’s in ‘pharmaceuticals, operating rooms, emergency admissions’ … mmm okay.

    His other girl works in ‘the library’.

    I’ve seen enough. Sixto flicks his shiny hair back one more time and I’m calling FAKE. This little pantomime is enough.

    1. ab Post author

      Great review. Now I have to research this true/false film festival. The story is so much easier to believe as fake — similar to 9/11. Get on skype Tom so we can chat about all your research you’ve done.

    2. Tom Dalpra

      Now this whole interview is funny, but for my favourite bit go to 6:09 here a for a moment when Sixto is asked by the pleasant young interviewer : ”You’ve been to London before haven’t you?” and we see the great man literally jump out of his seat! Haha. Busted! It becomes very funny when you see through it. The poor Swedish lad, he seems somewhat wide-eyed and near-hysterical with it all here. Lying on that scale is a tough call (Neil Armstrong). My hopeful guess is his ‘death’ was an ‘opt-out’ for the guy…

      6:09 to see him leap in his seat.

      1. Tom Dalpra

        So yes. This Oscar Winning ‘team’ are clearly practitioners of an outlandish international scam.
        They even went to all this trouble to make this ‘1998 Documentary film’ from his apparently successful return (Jesus returns) to South Africa complete with black and white footage, a short haircut , a bunch of ‘fans’ and all set around a fake concert.

        Enjoy !

  4. Tom Dalpra

    Ah yes, Sugar Man. His name had come up when looking at William Onyeabor here : fakeologist.com/forums/topic/f…

    A youtube commenter had said – ”Another Sugar Man”.

    I’ve merely eyed him with suspicion from a distance so far.
    When I have time, I shall be sure to revisit and watch the film and give my tuppence.

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