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An interview with Ofer Lapid of Gearhouse South Africa

It is widely agreed that smoking is bad for you. However, it gave Ofer Lapid his first view of the rental/staging business. Now, he has his own company, which claims to be the best-resourced in South Africa.

How did you get into the rental/staging business?’

I was an extremely naughty youngster and my fascination started with the live event industry at around age 14 when I used to go up to the 5th floor of the building my parents lived in, to smoke. Below there was a venue with trucks coming and going carrying lighting, audio, AV and so on. They came, created an image or an escape for a few hours and then packed up and went away. I was fascinated! I cannot say that it was then that I decided to open a rental company, but I certainly spent many hours helping them load and offload trucks and that’s when I fell in love with the power of flight case wheels. After a very long period of box-pushing, I ended up specialising in lighting. I first arrived in South Africa as part of a world tour and I have stayed here for the past 25 years. This is where I met my anchor, Nicola, who is now the mainstay of our small family.

What is your favourite project that you’ve ever been involved in?

I would have to say that my favourite project ever was the first 46664 Concert that took place in South Africa. I was personally involved on a previous one which didn’t work out. Nelson Mandela was still in very good shape then and I felt that I was participating in an historical moment and in his vision.

Is there are a particular product that you’ve come to look on as ‘an old favourite’?

I am from the old school and lighting is still my first love, so for me it would be a manual lighting desk – something on which you could actually feel the cross fade as it happened.

Is there a recent product that’s caught your eye that you think will be very useful in your business?

There are loads of them and none that I can currently afford! First on the wish list would be 6mm LED, more LED curtains and Kinesys Motion Control systems and then an endless list of others. Anyone who works with me can testify to the groans from the finance department when I get a gleam in my eye about a new piece of equipment. That early fascination has not yet faded!