Comedian and actor Magmoed Ganief believes that our lives are shows and that his latest production Wat praat jy van sabr, (What do you know about patience) “just adds a bit of humour to it all”.
Based on the daily lives of ordinary people, the show’s dialogue is in Afrikaans, interspersed with Arabic phrases.
A cast of largely Mitchell’s Plain residents, joined by Heideveld’s Shahiem Abrahams, is directed by Mr Ganief, who told the Plainsman that the show hits close to home, with some of the characters having the names of his relatives and some rehearsals having been held in the lounge of his Portland home.
“The audience who come and see the show are bound to see themselves in the characters on stage,” he said.
Mr Ganief, who has been doing stand-up comedy since the age of 15, said: “I come from a very comical family. We all enjoy cracking jokes. One day we were sitting around and I was just making fun of everyone and one of the uncles invited me to perform at one of the events he was hosting. Everything I did just came naturally. And as they say, the rest is history – I’ve always wanted to say that line.”
In addition to directing the show, Mr Ganief will also sing with the Oesmania Qasida Band, which provides the music for the show.
“Being a stand up comedian is a lot more challenging than being on stage with other characters. As a comedian people expect you to be funny and you also can’t keep telling the same jokes. Whereas when you’re in character in a stage play, you evoke all emotions, depending on the character you’re playing. But I enjoy both.”
The cast members, who have had no formal training, also built the set, put together the costumes and are also the make-up artists.
“It is time we empowered ourselves. There’s no point in us sitting around and waiting for a miracle to happen,” said Mr Ganief.
Amina Ganief, Mr Ganief’s sister who has been performing in stage plays for 11 years, said her character has touched her in more ways than she could have imagined.
“I have always been cast as a child. But the role I am playing in this play has taken me out of my comfort zone. In real life I am not a mother. But in this play I am a mother of three teenagers, with an emotionally abusive husband. Despite not being a mother, I am also the mother of a physically challenged child.
“I have had to connect with this woman in so many ways as most of what she is going through is something I have never personally experienced,” she said.
It was Eastridge resident Nadia Hector’s singing talent that landed her the role of Aunty Joggie, an old woman in the community, but she is quick to point out: “This is a first for me. I am not an experienced actress and this is quite nerve-racking for me. But the rehearsals are putting me at ease. I can’t wait for our ‘big day’,” she said.
The show runs every day, from Friday March 4 until Monday March 14, except Thursday March 10, at the Joseph Stone Auditorium in Athlone. Tickets cost R120 each and on opening night pensioners pay R60. To book, call 061 183 3643.