Deon Maas

Deon Maas, Idols Afrikaanse Season 1 judge

Deon Maas was a judge on Idols Afrikaanse season 1 in 2006 alongside fellow judges Taliep Petersen and Mynie Grové with Sean Else as the host.

He was born and raised in Cape Town South Africa.

Deon is a writer, producer, music and media manager best known as the author of books: Witboy in Africa, Melk die Heilige Koeie and Witboy in Berlin.

He’s also the producer of Punk in Africa, a reality show ‘Gulder Ultimate Search’ in Nigeria, Jam Sandwich and Fortuinsoekers.

At age 16, Deon Maas says he epitomised being ‘totally uncool’, with red hair, acne and skew teeth, he had a lot of obstacles to overcome.

Maas started his career in marketing at First National Bank. He worked as a journalist for You / Huisgenoot, Rooi Rose, Personality and Scope and was the editor of Youth magazine.

Deon is passionate about two things: being creative and driving his insatiable ambition. He was a journalist in the 80s and had a strong interest in music, but it was after discovering hip hop in 1985 that he began to work for record companies. Later in the 90s, he discovered a special brand of hip hop originating from the Cape Flats.

Between 1992 and 1998 he worked for Tusk Music as Music Manager and between 1998 and 2003 for Gallo Music as Marketing and later General Manager. He was also one of the presenters of the talk show Saturday Night on kykNET.

Shortly after his first column was published in Rapport, he was fired after a viral boycott campaign was emailed and texted against him and Rapport was launched. The campaign arose following a statement made by Maas in his first column in which he wrote about Satanism: “a religion that has the right to be practiced”.

According to a report in Rapport, an entry from the blogger and theology professor at the University of Pretoria, prof. Hennie Stander, possibly led to the campaign.

Stander, however, denied that he advocated the boycott but stated that “it would not bother him in the least” if his blog did so. Deon’s dismissal provoked both a positive and a negative reaction. According to Rapport, the professor of journalism at the University of the Witwatersrand, Prof Anton Harber, said it was “sad to see a newspaper succumb to such opinions”, while the Freedom of Expression Institute said that Rapport betrayed its “ethical values has to succumb to the pressure.

His achievements include; creative director for the South African Music Awards, marketing manager for Marvel Comics, the launch of a successful album entitled The Motherload Compilation in 1997.

He owns a documentary film company company ‘Meerkat Media’ which is a self-organized collective committed to creating artful and thought-provoking films through a non-hierarchical collaborative process.

Deon Maas and Gareth Cliff
Deon Maas and Gareth Cliff in August 2014.

In 2011, Deon launched nationwide contest Hip Hop Kop which saw Afrikaans rappers compete for a R100,000 recording contract with Ghetto Ruff records.

In 2017, Maas’ partner secured a top job in the fashion industry, Maas saw it as a good opportunity to journey yonder into the so-called First World, and after a couple of visa hiccups, he finally packed up his whole life and moved to Berlin with his wife and four dogs to seek new adventures. There, he walks dogs and writes books.

During an interview with The Daily Vox in 2019, Maas spoke about the life he’s living in Germany’s capital city.

“I love being a dog walker, I have all this free time. It gives me time to think. I do all my planning while walking the dogs and I’m using the dogs as a way to explore Berlin,” he stated.

Maas is not in the least ashamed that he walks dogs. In his observations since moving to Berlin, he says South Africans are snobs who look down on blue collar work.

“In Berlin, there’s no looking forward to blue collar. Whether you’re a doctor or a plumber, you drink in the same pub. Nobody gives a shit,” he said. Given that professionals and blue collar workers live in the same buildings, Maas says he sees it as “a very socialist way of thinking” and a “comfortable way to live with your neighbours,” he further stated.