Vuka Machel, featuring the legendary Mcendisi Shabangu and equally outrageously talented Xolile Gama as two unassuming chicken thieves who contemplate among other things the question of what would happen if Samora Machel, the late President of Mozambique woke up from the dead to find his wife Grace Machel married to the late Nelson Mandela.
Through a series of scenarios from political rallies, life in the townships and many other typically slice-of-life skits Vuka Machel has audiences spellbound as the two thieves humorously engage with each other and at times directly with the audience to bring them along and laugh at the absurdity of their circumstances.
As a two-hander which has been performed for well over 20 years it is refreshing how it still retains its relevance as it satirizes modern life in South Africa and juxtaposes it with the old order to measure how much has really changed or whether anything has changed at all.
Referred to by its creators as a ‘revolutionary comedy’, Vuka Machel is much more than that and does what good satire should do by drawing attention to quite often very serious matters using copious amounts of humour and ‘play-within-a-play’ techniques to ridicule and lay bare the realities that so often many would want to pretend do not exist.
If ever there was a production which was needed not only because Covid-19 has affected the lives of so many – Vuka Machel is that production for it allows those who managed to watch a chance to once again laugh at ourselves and perhaps forget just how much this year has and will for a long time be the personification of Annus Horribilis.
Joburg Theatre continues to be at the forefront of the resuscitation of theatre and with all Covid-19 protocols observed by both staff and audience, the team who put it all together deserves to be applauded for reminding us that we are still here.
Vuka Machel written and directed by Mcendisi Shabangu and featuring Mcendisi Shabangu and Xolile Gama was on at the Joburg Theatre from 23 – 25 October 2020 as part of the City of Johannesburg’s Arts Alive programme.