Tropika Smooth Fan separates the chancers from obsessive fans. Catch it on SABC1 on Fridays at 6pm.
When we file into the Cape Town studio where "Tropika Smooth Fan" is shot, one half of the room feels like a chic apartment. The other half, beyond the cables that snake around large cameras and looming men who give orders, feels like a colourful trip back to when game shows were a staple on South African TV.

The host of the SABC1 show that airs every Friday night is Rorisang Thandekiso. With a bounce in her step that is only second to her bubbly personality, she moves from asking a sound technician about her earpiece to talking some confidence into a contestant.

Standing next to an orange spinning wheel with numbers that represent different prizes, Rorisang zoned in on the stuttering contestant and told her to relax. She cracked some jokes and told her she’s allowed to speak in Zulu, if she wants to. Once the cameras were rolling, the girl spoke Zulu and aced her take, so much so that it was plausible that she might win the competition.

The show is a game played over three rounds. And the aim is to see who, among four loyal fans, knows a specific celebrity the best. During our set visit, the guest of honour was Khanyi Mbau. Even before she sat on her throne on set, she had already put a smile on most people’s faces with her easy-going manner, and humour.

When we were on the rooftop, ahead of the filming and Khanyi arrived, upon catching a glimpse of Khanyi, a contestant with a flower crown on her head was beside herself. She shook Khanyi’s hand, quickly got a hug and complimented the star on her blonde braids. After all that, Khanyi mischievously smiled, then said: “Yes, but for now I need to know your name.”

The show focuses on trivia about the celebrities, who include Somizi, Letoya Makhene, Jeannie D, Bonang and others.

The contestants have to know about the celebs’ careers, their childhoods, their appearances, and more. That can be overwhelming, so it’s important for everyone on set to stay in the moment.

“You have to keep the same energy,” says Rorisang. The former YoTV presenter continues: “As a presenter, I am fully conscious of that, but the contestants and celebrity might not be.

“But with this show, one thing we were clear about from the beginning was: as much as it’s about the celebrity, the contestant is the most important person in the room.

“That’s what we’re supposed to convey and hopefully, we’re getting it right.”

Catch "Tropika Smooth Fan" every Friday on SABC1 at 6pm