After all these years I should be used to it… but the Cape accent still makes me grin every time. Each word is charged with power and passion, and consonants – particularly Rs – are rolled and caressed in a manner that is frankly lascivious. The best is when amazement is being expressed. Then the high notes can head right off the scale, with the whole face and body animated from the effort. I love it, and despite my best efforts I find my eyebrows lifting higher and higher and my chin going up and my head starting to judder in an attempt to show a worthy amount of listening
It’s an accent that lends itself deliciously to comedy, and two masters of its every melodic twist are Kurt Schoonraad and Marc Lottering, both born and bred Capetonians with a wicked line in observational humour. Their shows quickly sell out, so I was thrilled to be able to get tickets to see them both recently. I have since become slightly obsessed with the necessity for every visitor to Cape Town to take in one of their shows. Not only are they extremely entertaining, but they give the visitor to this city an insight into Capetonian life. And what nicer way to taste a bit of Cape Town culture than through comedy?
After all, soaking up another culture doesn’t just mean visiting SUSHI (Sites of Unilaterally Significant and Historical Importance – or did I make that up?). Culture is there in the stories that are told, in the way that opinions are expressed. Schoonraad and Lottering specialise in stories of their childhood, of the community in which they grew up, of the codes and habits and the common practices of their parents and friends and neighbours. They are not the blatantly crude or patently weird type of comedian, but are thoroughly nice people with a quirky view of life and a natural talent for telling a good story. And fantastically expressive faces. And great hair too, but I guess that’s just a bonus.
In a subtler way, it is of immense value for a visitor to Cape Town to experience a local audience that is so diverse in terms of race and creed and colour. Schoonraad and Lottering clearly delight in playing up the differences between the various cultures present, to roars and screams and hoots of laughter from their audience. In a society as recently fragmented as South Africa’s, that kind of laughter speaks volumes. This kind of comedy is surely a great indicator of a healthy culture. If a society can hold up a mirror to itself and laugh at what it sees, all must be fairly good.
So I’ll see you there then, shall I? I’ll be the one in the corner with the juddering head and the silly grin.[geo_mashup_map]