South Africa: Mike Van Graan On Satire, Collective Catharsis and Political Megaphones


'Comedy - and satire in particular - are not going to change the world, but they play important roles in reducing politicians to the ordinary', says Mike Van Graan.

"Art generally, and theatre in particular, do not emerge or take place in vacuums. The socio, economic and political context that is contemporary South Africa, shaped primarily by inequality that largely aligns with and perpetuates historical racial divides, shapes our creative universe", says director, activist and award-winning playwright Mike van Graan.

In a year dominated by a global pandemic, political infighting and relentless corruption, watching what South African artists and designers have been or are creating is a revealing - and often soothing - magnifying glass laid on top of our societal wounds and political failings.

With the tip of a pencil or the touch of a paintbrush, through tapisseries, photographs, plays, cartoons, many of our bafflements, doubts and frustrations take a more permanent shape, one that will be left for all to see, revisit, explore, even years after we have experienced them.

Satire in South Africa takes different forms: From the iconic 1981 South African satirical play, Woza Albert! by Percy Mtwa, Mbongeni Ngema and Barney Simon, which portrayed disenfranchised...

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