Sonja Herholdt is a 71 year-old Afrikaner singer-songwriter and actress born on December 1st, 1952. She is best known for releasing hit songs like ‘Jantjie’ and ‘Ek Verlang Na Jou’. Sonja does not have a husband, as she is divorced. She was previously married to FC Hamman, an award-winning film director.
In the early 1970s, Sonja Herholdt launched her professional music career and rose to fame after recording ‘Ek Verlang Na Jou’ which sold more than 25,000 copies and was certified gold by RiSA. She subsequently released many singles and albums that were commercially successful. Throughout her career, she has won 8 SARIE Awards, and for her brilliant performance in the film Sing vir die Harlekyn, she took home a Rapport Oscar Award.
How Old Is Sonja Herholdt?
Sonja Herholdt is 71 years old as of 2023. In Nigel, Gauteng, she was born on December 1st, 1952. She had a supportive mother who helped her pursue her dreams at a young age. Little wonder, she was honored with an award from the Afrikaans Chamber of Commerce for her contributions to Afrikaans music at the age of 39 in 1991.
Sonja Herholdt’s Education
Sonja Herholdt attended Tini Vorster Primary School and Hoërskool John Vorster High School. Interestingly, she was the head girl in both schools and also received honorary colors for her academic accomplishments. Upon high school graduation, she enrolled at Goudstad College of Education in Johannesburg.
She graduated cum laude with a Diploma in Teaching certificate. She soon went into teaching but was influenced to abandon her teaching career for music after meeting music and film director FC Hamman, whom she ended up marrying.
Sonja Herholdt Started Singing at the Age of 3
Sonja Herholdt’s mother was allegedly a music teacher. Hence, she nudged her daughter in the right direction by encouraging her to start performing in public at a tender age. Herholdt had her first singing performance at the age of three and sang a lullaby, ‘Slaap my Kindjie’ at the community recreation hall.
After quitting teaching, she became active in the music scene in the year 1973. She then had her career breakthrough when she performed on Gwynneth Ashley Robin’s show and was asked to record a single, ‘Ek Verlang Na Jou’. The song was a critical and commercial success and certified gold by the Recording Industry of South Africa, having sold more than 25,000 copies.
After encountering overnight success with her first Afrikaans single, ‘Ek Verlang Na Jou’, Sonja Herholdt moved on to release several other singles and albums. She now has over 34 albums to her name, and amazingly, 11 of them gained gold certification from RiSA. In 1995, Herholdt signed with BMG Records, and her compilation album, ‘Skipskop’ was a huge success.
Nonetheless, her 1998 album, ‘Ritsel in die Rietbos’ flopped commercially but the singer-songwriter made a rebound with her album, ‘Reconstructing Alice,’ released in 2000. She established her own record label called Son Music in the year 2002.
Sonja Herholdt’s Awards
From 1976 to 1986, Sonja Herholdt released more than ten albums. They include ‘Sonja’ (1976), ‘Waterblommetjies’ (1978), Harlekyn (1979), ‘Waarom Daarom’ (1981), ‘Liefdesling’ (1984), and ‘Lofsang – Sonja Herhodt en Jan de Wet’ (1985). Her singing prowess and consistency enabled her to emerge as the best-selling female artist in SA frequently between the 1970s and 1980s.
Also, she won a total of eight SARIE Awards and the Rapport City Press Woman of the Year Award in 2006. Interestingly, Sonja was invited to perform on Dutch TV as she recorded tremendous success in Europe, too. Consequently, she was the first South African artist to perform on a local TV station in the Netherlands. Sonja Herholdt recorded her single, ‘Oberammergau’ in Dutch.
Additionally, she performed ‘Oberammergau’ in Belgium, and the song clinched the fifth spot on the Belgian charts. Also, two of Sonja’s songs were featured on the Belgium hit parades. The 71-year-old moved on to perform in Washington at the Religious Broadcasting Corporation in the year 1989.
Two years later, she received an award from the Afrikaans Chamber of Commerce for promoting Afrikaans music. She also received many Lifetime Achievement Awards.
In 1979, Sonja Herholdt made her acting debut in the box office hit movie Sing vir die Harlekyn. She had the role of Tina, and her performance earned her a Rapport Oscar Award for Best Female Newcomer. Also, one of her all-time songs, ‘Bring vir die Harlekyn nog wyn,’ was featured in the film. Later, in 2010, she was cast as Linda Marais in Liefling.
In addition, Sonja has worked in the music department for a couple of productions. In the year 1975, she penned songs for the film Sarah. She also worked in the music department in one episode of the TV series Getroud Met Rugby in 2009.
Who Is Sonja Herholdt’s Husband?
Sonja Herholdt is divorced and doesn’t have a husband presently. However, she was once married to acclaimed film director FC Hamman. She met her ex-husband when he was lecturing at an art school near her college of education. They dated for a while and got married in 1976.
The couple stayed married for 20 years before announcing their divorce in June 1996. Sonja reportedly filed for divorce after discovering that Hamman cheated on her. Their separation came three years after she was involved in a fatal car crash. It’s still uncertain whether the award-winning singer has found love again.
How Many Children Does Sonja Herholdt Have?
Sonja Herholdt shares four children with her ex-husband, FC Hamman. Their first child, Claudia, was born in 1982, followed by the birth of Simeon in 1985. While Jesse arrived in 1987, the former couple’s last child, Timothy, was born in 1991. Sadly, two years after Timothy’s birth, he had a hearing impairment.
This prompted Sonja Herholdt to open a school for Afrikaans children with hearing impairment. The school is located in Bryanston Primary School’s pre-primary section. While some of Sonja’s children keep a low profile, her son, Simeon, followed in her footsteps and is a well-known Afrikaner singer, songwriter, and actor. Just like his mom, he started singing at the age of 3 and has released many albums.
The 38-year-old dropped his debut album titled, ‘Rooirkok’ in 2012. His second album, ‘The Cover Ups’ was released two years later. Through the years, he has performed together with his mother, Sonja Herholdt, as they released a duet titled, ‘Ons Vlieg Saam’, which was featured in Sonja’s album, ‘Pêrels’. As an actor, Simeon Hamman had the role of Juan in the 2012 South African film Angus Buchan’s Ordinary People, directed by his father.