Comic Expression in South Africa
Did you know?
Famous South African satirist, Evita Bezuidenhout, launched Evita's People's Party during the 2009 election campaign, showing pictures of her with her 'Jacob Zuma' puppet while conveying the message of democracy to the people of South Africa.
South Africans have always expressed themselves through the arts and comic expression has played an important role in this. During the oppressive days of apartheid when so much was censored, truly authentic South African comedy was only ever performed on the fringe and was used as a catalyst to help ease the pain, as well as get the message out.
Now, in a democratic South Africa, where freedom of expression is relatively new, the language of comedy has literally exploded onto the South African landscape as a vibrant, audacious, multi-cultural art form. It is probably the only type of expression that gets away with being politically incorrect across the racial bar and speaks the absolute truth about the country's issues without causing a riot. That's because through it all South Africans, from all backgrounds, love laughing at themselves.
A number of comic styles and wacky lingoes have come from South Africa's richly layered, multi-cultural backdrop, forming an eclectic array of comedic expressions, a veritable feast of comedy to pick and choose from.
Most South African comedians mix up their acts with various different stories, lingoes and representations, yet still manage to express themselves with their own distinctive styles. Among them are controversial commentators, satirists and witty observationists like Pieter-Dirk Uys, John Vlismis, David Kau, Chris Forrest, Loyiso Gola, Al Prodgers, Aaron Mcilroy, David Kibuuka, Joe Parker, Krijay Govender and Darren Maule. Alan Committie, Casper De Vries, Soli Philander and Mark Lottering, meanwhile, are impersonators and physical expressionists .
There are even a number of comedy acts that include cabaret, magic, hypnotism, slap-stick and all-round entertainment such as mad musical duo Abbott & Crabb, ventriloquist Conrad Koch and comic magician Stuart Taylor.
To get a comprehensive and, sometimes, over-the-top understanding of South Africa, its diverse communities and colourful people, watch South African comedy. It's a surefire way of getting an authentic perspective.