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Friday, July 10, 2009


Lungi Pinda is the latest featured artist in Mike van Graan’s Bafana Republic series. – Caroline Smart

Energetic and amiable, Lungi Pinda is the latest featured artist in Mike van Graan’s Bafana Republic series, being the third comparative newcomer given an opportunity to shine and entrench himself in the South African theatre industry.

Produced by MVG Productions, Bafana Republic 3: Penalty Shootout offers the third instalment in this highly successful series of shows.

Directed by Mandla Mbotiwe, who has stayed true to Mike van Graan’s inimitable crisp and biting satirical style, Penalty Shootout goes according to formula where the actor is required to take on a number of roles with different characteristics.

The show is set against a screenplay of some of Zapiro’s most amusing cartoons, set atop a miniature goalpost surrounded by the numerous props that will be needed throughout the action. Wearing South African flag styled shoes, Lungi Pinda bounces onto stage merrily spraying cleaning fluid on what we eventually discover is the mirror in a gents’ toilet. However, he is quick to point out that he made his father proud and got his matric and now he’s an engineer. A sanitary engineer. Well, actually he’s a toilet attendant at O R Thambo Airport. This obviously lets loose much toilet humour, clever not crude, before Lungi morphs into a camp estate agent trying to sell the Greenpoint stadium in Cape Town because it’s only been used for five football games and nothing else since 2010. He quips that perhaps a Zuma family reunion might be a suitable event!

Along the way, we meet a preacher praising the Fifa World Cup to the heavens and passionately declaring that it will deliver: no more poverty, no more unemployment – perhaps even no more taxi drivers! Then we meet Madonna who is hosting a Celebrity Adoption for Children of Africa event and a man on crutches boasting that he will be the first black swimming champion and has dreams of becoming an activist of the Para-Olympics which, as has been proved, produce far better results for South Africa than the country’s abled contestants.

A curly blond wig, the 007 theme and he’s Blonde … James Blonde –launching forth into a rapid fire explanation that he is a detective out to discover who leaked Helen Ziller’s Botox secret. I lost count but I think that he uses all the Bond movie titles.

There’s also a hilarious commentary on a taxi race, a look at the SA Sports Channel, Tour de Tic on Mitchell’s Plain, precious moments with a Miss South Africa and a hilarious send-up of Julius Malema-cum-Julius Caesar offering his particular kind of rant through Shakespearean speeches.

My favourite was the lady seeing a psychologist because her dog only barks at black people. The dog is only two years old so can’t possibly be a product of apartheid and the animal is black, anyway. Lungi’s understated feminine character here was a delight.

Generally Lungi Pinda’s dialogue tends to be too fast so the words are indistinct and he doesn’t wait for the laughs, so much is missed but this is something that will settle down as he gains in performance experience. For now, he’s doing well and Bafana Republic 3: Penalty Shootout is definitely worth a visit. It runs daily at the National Arts Festival until July 11 at Princess Alice at 14h00. – Caroline Smart