Comedy on Mandela Day proved enlightening as a measure of the gains made since 1994. Because of its off-the-cuff nature, the comedy on this high-profile day allowed for an honest reflection of the progress the country has made so far or the steps backward it has taken. A list of performers that included Donovan Goliath, Ndumiso Lindi, Chris Forrest, Kagiso Lediga, Loyiso Madinga, Sifiso Nene and others did their part for the “67 Minutes campaign”. Host Kedibone Mulaudzi got proceedings underway by having the comedians assemble on the stage to sing the national anthem with the audience.
Like the newcomer showcase at the Comic’s Choice Awards, the comedians only had about five minutes before the next act was announced. So they had to deliver fast-paced material, which kept the laughs flowing throughout the evening. Madinga proved a revelation amongst the big guns with his astute take on race relations in the dating world. Jay Boogie’s set
relied on comparisons while some acts preferred to try out new material that has not yet been regularly circulated on the circuit. Lindi imagined the June 16 uprisings in the Twitter era to much laughter.
Almost every act had a Mandela gag, which proved to be a test of what we are allowed to say or not to say about Mandela. While most of the quips were harmless, Trevor Gumbi (right) had no qualms about speaking a little unkindly about Mandela, to the shock of some in the audience. His set was also laced with a lot of sexual and dark humour, which appealed to isolated sections of the audience. He stood out in terms of not performing middle of the road material. Otherwise, Nene was sharp and quick with material that appealed to everyday situations and Mulaudzi was a superb host, quick, off the mark, especially with audience who thought they were smarter than him.
Goliath is a big star in the making and he earned his stripes as the headline act of the night with a set that had the audience laughing almost continuously. His Mandela and Helen Zille rap battles were the night’s best bits. Add dance moves and blend of comedy culled from being aware of perspectives on both sides of the racial divide and he could potentially be as popular as a Trevor Noah, for example.