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Monday, January 5, 2009


Pic: Beauty Ramapelepele, she of the wide smile!

Ben Voss returns to The Barnyard at Gateway with Beauty Ramapelepele!

Back by popular demand at The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway will be local theatre icon Ben Voss, and his alter-ego Beauty Ramapelepele with Beauty And The BEE for three shows only from January 27 to 29.

Beauty And The BEE sees well-known South African director Janice Honeyman teaming up with comic star Ben Voss (Green Mamba and Black Mamba) to bring you Beauty Ramapelepele, a 49 year-old nouveau-riche Houghton mother of two. In this one (wo)man piece we join Beauty in her boudoir shortly after her triumph as South African Business Woman Of The Year. Her proudly South African, BEE-registered fabric and fashion company Yebo Fabrics has just secured the largest fabric contract in South African history – the conception, manufacture and supply of all costumes for the opening ceremony of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Beauty has tata-ma-chance struggle credentials - her drug-running father was killed in the cross-fire of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 while delivering dagga to a group of teenagers, her sister is married to the Head of the Reserve Bank, and Zanele Mbheki as a personal friend – which gives her the inside line on all gossip in the power corridors of South African business and politics! And to cap it all, she is the trophy wife of self-made construction mogul Tobias Ramapelepele, a man who boasts two of the Gautrain stations as well as the new King Senzangakhona soccer stadium amongst his current contracts. Beauty Ramapalapele is the perfect South African weapon - black, bright, beautiful, bitchy woman at the top of her business and social game.

But, her life has not always been a New South African fairytale. The daughter of a maid and a labourer, Beauty was conceived next to a primrose bush (which has long since made way for off street parking) in the extensive Houghton garden of the Whitakers (her mother’s then employers). She was born on May 8, 1958, at the Baragwanath Hospital. That was the 10th anniversary of the hospital, and as a result no staff were on hand to attend to her. So Beauty Ramapelepele first saw daylight in the boot of a clapped-out 1957 Ambassador Station Wagon taxi in the parking lot of the world’s biggest hospital! Her blue collar mother, Mitze, and father, Nkenkelezi, were 19 years old.

With a nose for gossip and inside information on everything from stripes to checks, and the BEE to the presidential race, Beauty Ramapelepele gives us a “fly on the wall” view of South Africa’s new black elite. Hers is a rags to riches story of our relatively tender democracy built on her simple and effective business philosophy - “Invest in Africa…buy a politician!”.

Tickets R70 for the Tuesday show (R105 for the Wednesday and Thursday performances). For bookings and enquiries, phone The Barnyard Theatre on 031 566 3045, e-mail or visit for more information.