Eish! In the midst of pain the Mzansi arts revival lifts our African spirit

A few friends hauled me out last Wednesday evening to watch Pieter-Dirk Uys' Pieter-Dirk: Eish! - Evita for President at the Market Theatre. I laughed from the beginning, when this accomplished satirist walks in and starts impersonating Adriaan Vlok washing black people's feet.

A few friends hauled me out last Wednesday evening to watch Pieter-Dirk Uys' Pieter-Dirk: Eish! - Evita for President at the Market Theatre. I laughed from the beginning, when this accomplished satirist walks in and starts impersonating Adriaan Vlok washing black people's feet.

In a week of terrible news, as I point out above in my reflection on the murder of Thato Radebe, it was good to have our faults and foibles laid bare and laughed at.

The satire is harsh, uncomfortable at times, but supremely entertaining. A laugh a minute, I urge Sowetan readers to do themselves a favour and go and see this show.

It offers a hilarious, nuanced take on our politics, our history and the many ineffectual buffoons - such as former National Party foreign minister Pik Botha - who tried to lead us.

A few weeks ago I saw Born Thru the Nose, also at the Market Theatre. It was very good and I was glad to see that it has attracted good audiences. Bheki Mkhwane, who manages to play six different roles with aplomb, was electrifying.

Another play causing a storm is The Suitcase. This classic, by Eskia Mphahlele and adapted by actor and director James Ngcobo, seems to be hitting the right note. When I called to book, I was told that it was full for six nights.

There is so much happening it seems a revival of South Africa's art is taking place. One act I would love to see is the Soweto Gospel Choir. The choir recently won the Best Traditional World Music Award at the 49th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. What an honour! What prestige!

President Thabo Mbeki was right when he said their achievement was another testimony to the richness of South Africa and Africa's contribution to humanity.

"Through their unique African gospel music, the choir continues to bring joy to audiences around the world," he said.

I could not agree more. It always saddens me when I see our artists performing to empty venues. Thankfully, from what I have seen at the Market Theatre this past month, our people really are supporting our artists.

The shows I have seen are very good indeed and worth every cent you pay.

Go see them. Enjoy!

X