His mane would be the pride of any lion, his ripped physique the envy of the burliest bodybuilder and his leopard-print loincloth cool enough to rival any modesty preserver Mowgli might don.
And when he opens his mouth and lets out his guttural cry of Ah-ah-ah-aaah well, step back, king of the jungle.
This is Tarzan of the Tsitsikamma, and he can put anything you can do to shame.
Just watch him drop to the ground and do a dozen push-ups without breaking a sweat.
Observe him leaping over fallen logs, muscles bulging and skin gleaming.
See him hurtling down a steep hill, scattering small stones and kicking up dust as he dodges through trees.
This forest is his kingdom, nature is his best friend and becoming the Tarzan of Tinseltown is his biggest dream.
And DeWet du Toits mission in life has just got one step closer: the 35-year-old is the star of a new show on DStv which follows his journey from his hometown of George all the way to Los Angeles to knock on a few doors and get his name out there.
Tarzanvan George (Tarzan of George) is on kykNet and comes with English subtitles, so everyone can share in his dream of making it big like the legendary lad who grew up in the wild with apes as his family.
Of course nothing in Hollywood is easy and DeWet has yet to realize his dream, but all good things come to those who wait.
Meanwhile, DeWet and his twin and sidekick, Rudolf du Toit, are doing what they do best: spending up to six hours a day in the forest in search of locations to shoot their Tarzan movies for YouTube.
Rudolf appears in the new DStv show too, but mostly he’s the behind-the-scenes guy, helping to direct, produce, shoot and market the movies.
He’s always on hand with a bottle of baby oil for his brother too. Rub a little on your body, he says as DeWet poses on a branch, thumps his chest and lets out another signature cry.
Never fear when Tarzan is near, DeWet declares.THE twins admit making a living in their contrived jungle kingdom isn’t easy especially when you dont have the backing of a Hollywood studio and its deep dollar-lined pockets.
“But I’m glad I persevered,” DeWet says. “There was a time when I thought it wasn’t worth it, that I should just let it go.”
Instead, he and Rudolf turned to YouTube and made their own movies which caught the eye of local producer Rian van Heerden three years ago.
“I contacted DeWet and asked if I could make a documentary series about him,” Rian recalls. It was hard work convincing him. He’s so focused on becoming Tarzan that he was afraid this project might divide his attention. I’ve never met anybody whose so devoted to his dream. My documentary series is about a man who’ll keep dreaming the almost impossible dream.”
DeWet doesn’t give up. What he’s already achieved is mind-boggling.
The achievement that the brothers are most proud of is their short YouTube movie Tarzan: Curse of the Mummy, which stars South African-born and Hollywood-based actor Neil Sandilands, who played a super villain in The Flash TV series.
Neil, who also plays the baddie in their Tarzan movie, was invited by the brothers on Facebook to join the cast.
“He was visiting South Africa when they were shooting, and he came on board. He’s a good actor,” DeWet says. “It was nice running around on set with him. Neil was willing to be in our low-budget film and to give our work a chance.”
In 2021 the trailer for Tarzan: Curse of the Mummy won the best trailer award at the online Europe Film Festival and took an award for best special effects at the AAB Film Festival in India.
DeWet is pleased he and Rudolf took a chance on their new DStv series.
“It was a big deal to us to finally get some recognition for something we’ve been doing for so long. It opened up new doors for us. There have been tough times, but luckily I didn’t listen to those who told me I’d never make it. He isn’t here to prove the naysayers wrong,” he says. “I just want to show people not to let go of their dreams. You must do it for yourself. No one is going to hold your hand and do it for you.”
DeWet has been Tarzan obsessed since he was a little boy and would pore over the collection of comic books his dad, Ludolf, a nature conservationist and farm manager, gave his sons.
The boys grew up on farms in Namibia and Botswana and the adventures of the untamed king of the jungle captured DeWet’s imagination.
“I admire Tarzans forcefulness, his love and respect for nature and the fact that he kills only to eat or in self-defense.”
His yes means yes and his no means no. He and Rudolf took drama classes during their high-school years in George and after matric they worked as fitness instructors and did some modeling.
They even played Vikings in an Israeli cellphone advertisement.
DeWet then decided to devote himself to looking like a latter-day Tarzan and started bodybuilding.
When he was in his early 20s he read online that Hollywood was planning a new Tarzan movie, and he decided he wanted to go to LA one day.
Soon he’d flung off his clothes and headed for the depths of the forest, dressed only in his itty-bitty leopard-print loincloth.
The movie version he’d read about became The Legend of Tarzan, which was released in 2016 with Alexander Skarsgard as Tarzan and Margot Robbie as Jane.
For DeWet, it added further fuel to his ambitious fire. In the new five-part TV series, viewers meet DeWet’s family and travel with him to Los Angeles, where he goes to the famous Hollywood Boulevard in his Tarzan costume and also meets a couple of Hollywood honchos in the hope of future glory.
So is there a real-life Jane to share in the lofty dreams of Tarzan of the Tsitsikamma? Tarzan is still looking for his Jane, DeWet admits.
It’s tough maintaining a relationship in the film industry. Now and then you fall in love, but if you’re always out and about, it makes it hard to keep a relationship going.
DeWet says it would take a certain kind of Jane to put up with this Tarzan, but he’s hoping she does come along one day.
Tarzan is a bit lonely in the jungle.
“I just want show people not to let go of their dreams,” DeWet said.
Produced in association with Magazine Features ZA
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