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“God’s given me a love for people. People are looking for a listening ear. Everything is fast today… fast food, fast this and that. God taught me that when people talk, I must listen,” says Angus Buchan.
Listening is what he does best, I discover at the Cape Town premier of his latest movie, Ordinary People. Eager fans and churchgoers huddle around Buchan, trying to get a picture taken with him, chat to him, or even pray with him.
The silver-haired man, well into his sixties and clad in his signature cowboy hat and shirt, is clearly a revered figure. As I wait in the cinema’s lobby I can’t help but overhear a conversation he’s having with a young couple: “My boy, how long have you been dating this lady?”
The guy responds: “Three years.”
“You have to marry her, my boy. What are you waiting for? You can see this lady is in love with you”, Buchan says while looking at the young woman.
As I turn to look at her I see tears trickling down her cheek – she is touched by Oom Angus’s words.
“Just do it man, the next time I see or hear from you guys, I want to see you married.”
The couple nod, hug and head off.
What is it like to have people come up to you and share their problems, or want to pray on the spot, I ask.
“It’s a huge privilege. That people can come up and trust me within two minutes is a huge honour. It brings me to tears. There’s a trust factor, they see me as a father figure. They think they know me because they see me on tv every day, too,” he chuckles.
The sweet man is passionate about his work as farmer and an evangelist.
After the heart-warming film Faith Like Potatoes, based on his book, it is now Ordinary People that will capture audiences’ hearts. Buchan says he met director FC Hamman in 2010 after the Mighty Men Conference.
“He came to the farm. He told me he wanted to do something for God. This was the man who did the official documentary for the World Cup. He said he wanted to make a movie about what happened to men at the conference.”
What Buchan started in 2004 on his farm grew to 250 000 attendees in 2010. The story of the three men who form the mainstay of the film, though, came from Hamman, since Buchan didn’t get much chance to interact with people at that particular event: “At the conference I’m the loneliest there. I move from the prayer room straight to the platform. I spend most of the time praying, so I don’t meet anybody.”
Ordinary People was shot over two years across various locations in Joburg, Cape Town, Limpopo and Greytown.
Buchan faced challenges while filming, but found much support from the crew members: “I had to re-enact the heart attack, which was very emotional for me. One of the actors said he wants to bring his 19- year-old son to chat to me. So it definitely changed the lives of the actors. There was a direct impact on the crew, too.
“We are going to touch the nation with this movie: black, white, fathers, sons, bikers. It’s about day-to-day issues. It’s not about Superman because he has powers to fly, it’s about your average person.
“It appeals to everyone differently depending on where you are at in your life.”
Angus Buchan will be in Cape Town for Radio Tygerberg’s Mitchells Plain vir Jesus campaign on April 22 at 3pm.