04 October 2010

Teenage pop star Justin Bieber jammed with a local band, played with cheetahs and captured the heart - and cellphone number - of a Cape Town beauty during his visit to South Africa this week.

And local teen Qaanita Jacobs became the envy of smitten fans around the world after spending just 15 minutes with Bieber - during which he jotted down her name and phone number.

Jacobs, 17, from Rustenburg High School for Girls in Cape Town, and five friends were sipping virgin strawberry daiquiris at the five-star One&Only Hotel on Wednesday eveningwhen the superstar sauntered over and casually slumped into an empty seat at 9pm.

Later, he wrapped his arm around her while posing for a picture.

"He handed me the piece of paper and I wrote down my name and number. He said 'Qaanita?' I said yes. Hearing him say my name with his accent, oh my word!" Jacobs enthused.

The next morning he posted on his Twitter profile: "South African girls = incredible".

Jacobs relived the experience - her wildest dream come true - in an interview at her home in Rondebosch East on Friday.

The teenager toyed with her sleek dark tresses and smiled broadly while recalling meeting the 16-year-old Canadian, who famously sets young pulses racing with his hit single, Baby.

"I still get goose bumps when I think about it," she said.

"He looks a hundred times better in real life. His skin is flawless and he kept on flipping his hair. Oh! and he smells so good!"

Bieber frenzy exploded in South Africa as the singer chronicled snippets of his holiday on the social networking website Twitter.

The star slipped into the country at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport last Sunday. He saw elephants, rhinos and leopard cubs at the luxury Idube Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park, before heading to Cape Town's swish One&Only hotel, where well-heeled patrons fork out R49 per "Blushing Rose Mojito" and R145 for ''High Tea". He was also spotted petting cheetahs and playing a marimba in the city.

Jacobs and her friend Nabilah Samaai, 17, did not bump into Bieber by coincidence.

Troupes of infatuated teenagers flooded the hotel's foyer as word of his presence spread faster than pheromones this week. Conveniently, it was school holidays - and the two girls' mothers conceded that the special circumstances warranted a curfew extension.

"I had to convince her father though," said Jacobs's mother, Rasheda. "I told him, it's a safe environment, let's give her some time."

The girls arrived at the hotel at about 8pm. "We were sitting quite normally, drinking our daiquiris and eating mint cakes. The next thing, my one friend says 'There's Justin Bieber!' I looked up and it was him," said Jacobs.

"I tried so hard to stay calm, not to screech, you know. He came down the stairs towards us like he knew us. The next thing he just fell back in an empty chair next to us, saying 'Hi girls.'"

Said Samaai: "He was speaking to us most of the time, asking many questions."

Bieber called back later that evening but, unfortunately, the girls had to go home.

The singer frolicked with local African Jazz band Abavuki, at the city's Mama Afrika restaurant the previous night.

"He came for dinner and later went on stage with the band. He picked up a marimba and a djembe drum, playing them like he'd been doing so for years. He was great and really well-mannered. You would never say that he is a superstar," said the restaurant's manager, Mark Weiner.

Marimba player Thabo Giyana, 22, applauded Bieber's attempts to jam with the band.

''He tried the marimba and percussion and did quite well. He was actually a good drummer," the local musician said.

Meanwhile, Jacobs has sworn never to change her phone number. Just in case.

TIMES LIVE



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