Ian Roberts was born in 1952 in Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape Province. He is a South African actor, playwright and singer. A native English speaker, he is also fluent in Afrikaans and Xhosa. He was married to South African actress Michelle Botes, blessed with two children but the couple divorced in 1999.
Roberts grew up on his father’s citrus farm near the town. He attended St. Andrew’s Preparatory School and St. Andrew’s College in Grahamstown. After completing high school he performed his compulsory national service in the South African Army, which he completed in 1971.
After a variety of different jobs and a course in photography at the Port Elizabeth Technical College from 1973 to 1975, Ian enrolled at Rhodes University in 1976 for a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Speech, Drama and Social Anthropology.
Roberts became a South African icon when he played the character of Boet in a long-running series of television advertisements for Castrol motor oil. This character (together with the other characters Swaer and Moegoe) has also been featured in M-Net’s comedy series Kalahari Oasis as well as in his Radio Kalahari Orkes band.
In the Oscar-winning South African film, Tsotsi, Roberts played the role of a police captain.