Durban - Whether it is the arrest of the Guptas brothers by Dubai police or the alleged millions of dollars that were hidden in the mattress at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm, South African comedians have plenty of fodder to make light of the country lurching from one political drama to another.
The grand-nephew of struggle stalwart Fatima Meer, doctor and comedian Suhayl Essa believes that South Africa is blessed with freedom of speech and this means that any topic – especially politics – is fair game.
“I am doing an international tour at the moment and I was in Gaborone, Botswana and made a joke about former President Ian Khama that did not go down well,” Essa said.
Khama has been in South Africa for the past few months and he failed to appear in court in April on charges of unlawfully possessing a firearm. Khama claims that he fears for his safety should he return to his home country.
“We are blessed in South Africa. In other countries people are not allowed to say what they want as they fear the consequences,” Essa said.
He said South Africans would not allow political scandal, corruption or even the Gupta scandal to drag them down.
Instead, they can find humour in any situation and are resilient, he said.
“We have a way of laughing and making light of some serious issues,” he said.
Essa said when the Guptas eventually returned to the country they would probably find that not much has changed.
“When they left a president was under pressure and if they return soon they will find that another president is also under pressure.
“Laughter is the way to bring across a point, it helps to change people’s perspective and helps them to deal with what are very serious issues,” he said.
Essa will perform at the Sibaya iZulu Theatre in Durban on June 16, 17 and 18.