Master satirist stirs up South Africans with heady brew

15 July 2020 - 12:39
'Bafana Republic and Other Satires' focuses on various issues facing democratic SA.
'Bafana Republic and Other Satires' focuses on various issues facing democratic SA.
Image: Supplied

Mike van Graan's Bafana Republic and Other Satires is a selection of monologues from a series of one-person satirical revues. Using the 2010 FIFA World Cup as an entry point for satirical commentary, the sketches focus on various issues facing democratic SA: state “vanity” projects, land issues, abuse of women and state capture.

In any deeply polarised society, satire provides an effective means for challenging audiences. Van Graan’s potent mix of comedy, poetry and drama compels audiences to reflect on controversial topics in a non-alienating, thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining way.

The collection tackles themes of corruption, colonialism, violence against women, Aids denialism, violent crime, racism and inequality head on.

Readers or audience members cannot remain unaffected by the use of humour, exaggeration, irony and ridicule in the sketches to highlight social and political issues and human foibles. They will laugh and cringe and sometimes cry, but ultimately they will appreciate more deeply the beauty and humanity of their country, and perhaps feel recharged with hope.

The sketches in the collection come from six one-person revues: Bafana Republic (2007); Bafana Republic: Extra Time (2008); Bafana Republic: Penalty Shootout (2009); Pay Back the Curry (2016); State Fracture (2017); and Land Acts (2018). 

Mike van Graan is the President of the African Cultural Policy Network and an award-winning playwright with more than 30 plays under his belt. He is currently a Fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study working on his first novel. His work explores the post-apartheid condition through drama and satire, and he is considered one of SA’s leading playwrights, both for his prolific production and for the number of awards that his work has been nominated for or won.