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Published by tasch, 2020-03-31 09:59:38



Keywords: Khuluma,Magazine,April 2020,Khulluma Magazine

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TheS e r io

FOR THE MENU see pages 4 & 5




These are very serious times indeed. When we started planning this issue many months ago – long
before the first hint of the woes in Wuhan and way before the disease was designated COVID-19 – we
imagined our ‘Serious’ issue ironically, taking our instinctively twisted cue from the silliness of April
Fools’ Day. We doubt too many people will have much energy for April Fools’ jokes this month, though.
In the final throes of putting this magazine together, the khuluma team has removed many pages of planned events and
activities and social gatherings that were to have happened across the country. It’s been creepy to see life change in such
sweeping and dramatic ways. But these sacrifices are in the service of a shared imperative to flatten the curve and help slow
the spread of an invisible enemy.

Throughout this magazine, you will see that events – ones you might have attended or participated in – have been
postponed, cancelled, put on hold. We urge you not to worry so much about what you’re missing out on, though.
While you’re having to skip a celebration or night out, millions of our fellow humans – from actors and theatre staff, to
waiters and cleaners, DJs and clowns and bartenders – are wondering where their next meal ticket will come from.

And while our social calendars are empty, there are so many offerings pouring in from institutions and individuals to fill the
gap. Museums and galleries around the world have been putting their collections online so you can look at amazing things
without leaving home, and institutions (such as the Met Opera) have been streaming – for free – shows that they’ve had to
cancel as they shut down for prolonged periods. Do a search for wildlife webcams if you crave an animal sighting; an infinitude
of cat and dog videos awaits, too.

There are countless podcasts into which you can tune and audio books to which you can listen while you’re
gardening or cleaning the house for the umpteenth time. Online exercise or yoga and meditation classes can help
keep you fit and sane. If you have books, read. Eat well to bolster your immune system.

Yes, this is a serious time, but we still have our sense of humour, and we do need to smile and laugh to mitigate against the
impact of the reality that’s unfolding. For this, even Facebook can be useful: actress Megan Ferniss has put a smile on my face
with home-recorded videos of herself talking as she does her daily exercise routine in her living room, sharing banalities and
quips about walking her dog in the park during these days of self-isolation. What a delight!

If ever there was a time to care for one another, it’s now. We are in this together. Let solidarity prevail. Be kind. Love. APRIL 2020 3



No jokes. & PRIMA DONNAS
Their fury is contagious, their soap 60 SPREAD YOUR WINGS
18 ARE YOU KIDDING? opera unsanitised. The world’s biggest mass marathon may
Anne Hirsch finds mirth in (other have been downsized, but you can still
people’s) mothering. 49 #CRAZYFOODTRENDS express your solidarity by participating
Before panic shopping and toilet in isolation.
EXPERIENCE paper hoarding, there was blue food
and gin made from the pork bush. 63 REST ASSURED
22 SEND IN THE CLOWNS We’re mostly serious. Caves, corbelled houses and Champagne-
What the world needs now. level camping – these unhotels provide
solitude and serenity in spades
William Kentridge has done 73 BUSH TACTICS
it again. Go off grid and let nature work
its magic.
A feminist Karoo western 87 FORTITUDE CITY
that’s also a detective flick and Meet a few of Harare’s heroes.
marvellously offbeat black comedy
with a side order of chaos 73 97 STRANGE FRUIT
and derring-do. We are what we eat, so why don’t we
eat a wider range of weird?

10 APRIL 2020


From slime mould to tree shrews, 132
these are some seriously smart
non-humans. 168

The Two Oceans may be cancelled,
but here are some off-road
challenges that take you into the
great outdoors

The Garden Route has always been
a hippie hangout, but when did
Bigfoot come to town?


Solidarity in isolation.

Wardrobe trends worth trying
during your stay-at-home weeks.

Books. Wine. Seriously ugly
shoes. Whatever you need to
keep yourself entertained
while you self-isolate for the
greater good.

Easter isn’t cancelled, but we’re
colouring it pink.

12 APRIL 2020 Final Fling

Editor Keith Bain
Content Manager Raina Julies – [email protected]
Content Co-ordinator Vanessa Payne
Copy Editor Nicci Collier

Head of Design Studio Jayne Macé-Ferguson
Senior Designers Mfundo Archie Ndzo, Lesley-Ann van Schalkwyk

Advert Designer Bulelwa Sotashe
Production Editor Shamiela Brenner
Cover Photographer/Retouching Sven Kristian
Make-up Artist Kirsten Murphy-Rossiter

Project Manager Richard White
khlassifieds Project Manager Steve Norval
Sales Consultants Stephen Crawford, Jay Deary, Bonnie Eksteen,
Randall Grace, Nazeem Hoosen, Nikita Moore, Gavin Payne,
Andre Potgieter, Roman Ross, Clint Smith, Ándre Theunissen, Zelda Stein
Advertising Co-ordinators Johan Labuschagne, Merle Baatjes

Novus Print

Business Manager Lodewyk van der Walt – [email protected]

Management Accountant Deidre Musha
General Manager, Magazines Jocelyne Bayer

Chief Executive Officer Comair Ltd Wrenelle Stander

Head of Marketing, Shaun Pozyn
Marketing Manager, Bridgette Ramuluvhana
Brand Communictions Manager, Luane Lavery

1 Marignane Drive, Bonaero Park, Kempton Park, 1619
Tel: 011 921 0111 | | contact centre: 0861 KULULA (585852)

To advertise in this magazine, please contact
Richard White (Sales Project Manager) at +27 21 469 2542

or email [email protected]
To advertise in the khlassifieds section, please contact
Steve Norval (khlassifieds Project Manager) at +27 21 469 2435

or email [email protected]

Copyright: No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent of the publisher.
The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited material. khuluma is published monthly by Picasso Headline.
The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Picasso Headline, kulula or Arena Holdings.

All advertisements/advertorials and promotions have been paid for and therefore do not carry any endorsement
by the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of its contents, neither

kulula, nor the publisher can be held responsible for any omissions or errors, or for any misfortune, injury
or damages that may arise therefrom. We reserve the right to edit interviews for layout purposes.


Spend less time at Europcar’s counters!

Collecting your rental vehicle has
never been easier. With Europcar’s new
‘Ready-2-Go’ service, you can now reduce
the time spent at their check-out counters.

Customers can now pre-check out
by loading all their relevant personal
information onto their reservation online
at Updating your
personal information means that on arrival
at the kiosk, they will simply require your

driver’s licence and credit card.

Entering of information is once-off and
is not required for each and every rental.

Get a speedier check-out by using

Check-in closes 45 minutes
ahead of your flight.

We are cashless! Silence your
hunger and thirst craving on
one of our green machines
by paying for those snacks
using your embossed Visa or
Mastercard bank card.



Check out our social pages for travel
tips, events, great deals and more.

dd i ng?
y ou ki
18 APRIL 2020


T he other day, I was out with a bunch of friends who are first-time
moms. Now, since I myself don’t have any children that I’m aware
of, I’d taken up the role of sympathetic bestie and suggested a boozy
lunch – strictly for those moms who managed to organise

a babysitter, though, because children can smell my fear.

After a few Chardonnays, my friends began comparing at what age their

babies started walking.

‘Little Joshy was ten months old.’

‘Karin already started at nine months, but she’s very advanced.’

‘Well, Angel rollerbladed out of the womb.’

You get the idea?

I started drinking quite heavily during this conversation. But then my one

friend – let’s call her Emily, because that is literally her real name – shared her

Fear. Yes, capital F.

Her Fear is that her baby hasn’t started walking at 14 months (incidentally,

new moms for some reason speak in months so I figure Emily’s child is a four-


‘Seriously?’ I thought to myself, gulping my wine. Surely this Fear was not a

real thing. How could this be a legitimate fear, I wondered. Coronavirus is a fear.

And so are #MeToo, climate change, Trump, plastic straws – those are also legit,

actual, real sources of Fear.

But, in what reality have we ever seen an adult still crawling on the ground

because they never learnt how to walk? They will absolutely, 100% learn to

walk. It’s like sneezing or being sarcastic to telemarketers (I am working on

changing this, I promise, #SelfGrowth #Namaste?). As I thought about this,

I looked around the restaurant – none of the adults were crawling on the floor

because they somehow skipped the ‘learning to walk’ phase that has gotten

Emily in the grip of Fear.

Seriously. In all my years, not once have I thought to myself, ‘Ag, shame,

there’s that guy who never learnt to walk as a baby.’ Sigh.

Needless to say, with both the conversation about her unfounded Fear and

then my wide-eyed frown at the vegan water which Emily offered to me later

that day, I just kept my mouth shut, which I think is probably the best way to

handle something you have no knowledge about.

Also, Emily might be a stressed mother but she also does CrossFit

Picture: Sven Kristian and I bruise like a peach, so I wasn’t willing to risk a fight. FShaSteclihkrsCiHekoeobhSSeirwwnoatusoinoikcnTonnnkhCdnSgVT.eaaoa,YYclhy,tpsooo1ecorau4umohenAtT7fscpAtnu6V)eeaenbpniennanteemnvitta(aeeHiaiD.nsorlnisgySrnydosT,otcohsuVhneee
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we’re doing okay and

that’s great. We are all just each fighting our own fights.
Whether it’s for equality, spreading the gospel of veganism or
getting our babies to stand up and walk – we are each doing our
best and that’s okay.

Now is also the time I call for world peace and tolerance and,
because you’re on a plane, let me please remind you to open your

window blinds during take-off and landing. APRIL 2020 19

We have a hamper of wearables to give away
from two KAMERS/Makers exhibitors. From Pango
& Linn – a sustainable leatherwear company on a mission
to raise awareness for the world’s most trafficked animal
(by giving 20% of each product’s proceeds to pangolin
conservation) – you can win a hand-stitched leather field bag valued at R2 240. And from
luxury sleepwear brand, Bena, you can win two travel tracksuit sets valued at R2 300.
For more details about the market, next scheduled to happen in Sandton from 23 to 27 April,
turn to page 142.

In the event that the market is postponed (as the Cape Town edition was) or you are
self-isolating, you can still shop online at

We have a full set of KuriAmé anti-ageing skincare products – made with aloe
extracts and totally free of preservatives and other nasty ingredients – to give away. These skin-
nourishing products are enriched with active ingredients such as Matrixyl 3000, Energen, Tritisol
and liquorice extract, while aloe itself is known to be anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory, and high in
antioxidants. Rich in glycoproteins, aloe is proven to be antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial, too.

Pictures: Lydia Harper Photography, Supplied WIN A PORTABLE BLENDER FREE STUFF
What’s better than having a blender in your kitchen?
Having one that you can take with you wherever you go! We have WIN A TROLLEY CASE
four Go Blend portable blenders to give away – they are mini-sized From leading
(with a 380ml cup size) so as to fit in your bag and last for up to South African luggage chain,
a dozen uses on a single full charge (charging takes two hours). They Frasers, we have a Travelite
are suitable for making smoothies, protein shakes, margaritas, baby Excelsior large trolley case to
formula, and even crushed ice. And, yes, they are easy to clean. give away. Valued at R2 899,
this case is hard-wearing and
resistant to impact. With
a rectangular recessed handle,
TSA combination lock and
eight wheels (all 360-degree
spinners), it also has
a fully-lined interior and
is expandable.

SEND IN THE CLOWNS Words: Keith Bain, Picture: P. Augie

No ordinary clowns, mind you. These three are part of Slava’s Snowshow, the wordless, surreal
production created by Russian performance artist Slava Polunin who is widely regarded as the world’s

foremost clown, having greatly innovated the craft to establish it as a theatrical art form outside the
traditional confines of the circus. The show, which draws on Polunin’s seemingly infinite capacity for
wonder, turns fantastical dreams into three-dimensional scenarios with the power to stop your breath in
your throat. The show has been touring the world for over a quarter of a century and was to have returned
to South Africa in May for a month-long tour. At a time when we all crave a touch of magic and long
for escape, sadly Slava’s tour has – like most live events – been cancelled. You can, however, finds bits
and pieces from his shows on YouTube. And keep eyes peeled for the Helena Bonham Carter-narrated
documentary, Slava’s Journey: Secrets of Snow, which tells the delightful tale of Slava’s train trip back to

frozen Russia, the source of his imagination.

22 APRIL 2020



in & surf onli APRIL 2020 23



William Kentridge’s monumental World War I opus, APRIL 2020 25
The Head & the Load, is 90 minutes of having your
wildest dreams – and darkest nightmares – turned
into an electrifying audio-visual spectacle

SHOULDERING HISTORY: Taking its title from a Ghanaian
proverb – ‘the head and the load are the troubles of the neck’ – this
stage piece was among a number of works commissioned for the
Tate Modern in London in 2018 to commemorate the centenary of
the end of the First World War. The performance addresses a rarely
considered historical footnote: that many of the Africans who lost
their lives during the war did so in the service of their colonial powers
as porters, made to transport and carry incredible loads – hauling
cannons, munitions, provisions, machine guns, entire ships and European
officers’ gramophones – across thousands of miles of hostile terrain.
Few survived these daunting journeys. And those who were lost went
unrecognised. A massive collaborative affair, The Head & the Load sees
Kentridge team up with composers Philip Miller and Thuthuka Sibisi,
as well as choreographer Gregory Maqoma (pictured left), who is also
among the show’s principal dancers. Its 38-strong cast is complemented
by shadows, charcoal animations, projections and mechanised
sculptures. The result is something that defies easy categorisation,
unfolding more like a dream that anything else.

PASSING PARADE: As the title suggests, the performance
is often about the physical struggles that Africans co-opted
into the war had to endure. And so we see these porters
marching through the savanna, battling to stand at attention,
struggling with the loads they must shoulder. They are
forcibly on the move, and the trudging to get wherever they
are going is relentless. The production requires a purpose-
built stage that stretches for 50 metres. Kentridge calls
what we see ‘an interrupted musical procession’ alluding
to the fact that there’s this kind parade of characters that
make up the unfolding spectacle of mime and movement,
sound and text and imagery. It’s the result of workshopping,
remembering, imagining, and bringing together all kinds
of disparate elements in order to carve out a stirring
representation of a largely undocumented history. The
New Yorker described it as ‘dumbfounding, eviscerating,
and beautiful’ – the performance uses dance, cabaret,
charcoal landscapes, projected images, shadow play, speech,
song, pantomime, and both new and old music to produce
its spectacle.

26 APRIL 2020


PULLING FOCUS: Packed with loads to digest, The
Head & the Load is the kind of performance you can’t take
your eyes off, not least because its retinue of visual details
is so striking. It is a very sumptuous spectacle. And yet
the scale of the thing is so vast, you easily find yourself
missing bits of brilliance because you’re so focussed
elsewhere. It is a 90-minute audio-visual collage that
constantly pulls you towards some detail, whether it’s
Guinean musician N’Faly Kouyaté playing the kora while
singing, or an army of dancers marching in a beautifully
synchronised rhythm across the vast stage. Or the
enchanting voice of singer Ann Masina (pictured above,
with Vincenzo Pasquariello at the piano). And then there
are the visual elements from Kentridge’s own hand:
animated maps, charcoal landscapes, and those large-
scale shadows. So much to savour. APRIL 2020 27


Words: Keith Bain, Pictures: Stella Olivier

DADA DAZE: At the podium above, actor Hamilton Dlamini’s eccentric
expression encapsulates the crazed spirit of the performance which hinges to
a large extent on the daunting nature of its subject matter – much of what it
needs to express is unsayable. The performance is, in Kentridge’s words, ‘about
historical incomprehension (and inaudibility and invisibility)’. In this respect, the
work owes significantly to Dadaism, the avant-garde artistic movement that
emerged in Europe during the First World War, primarily in protest against its
senselessness. The Dadaists questioned the madness of war by literalising
its absurdity and their techniques are echoed in The Head & the Load to some
extent – tragedy becomes comic chaos, words become gibberish, reason
becomes lost in an avalanche of images. At times (as when Julia Zenzie
Burnham, right, dances), the shadows become disproportionately larger than
the performers, assuming a life of their own, as if the darkness of history has
overtaken reality. These nightmarish depictions of history are presented less as
a flowing story and more as a free-flowing barrage of ideas that come together
as a kind of feverish dream, an array of events occurring simultaneously
on stage. The show – which sold out overseas – was originally scheduled
to run at the Joburg Theatre in May, but has been postponed until August.,

28 APRIL 2020


Opening in local cinemas on
10 April, Flatland is a genuine
thrill ride. It stars Nicole Fortuin
and Izel Bezuidenhout (pictured
left) as girls on the run across
the Karoo, pursued by a sharp-
shooting detective (played by
Faith Baloyi, below) who has
a fondness for velour tracksuits
and soap operas.

Fearless filmmaking
from one of our own APRIL 2020 31

Rollercoaster ride Messy, like life

There’s this delicious scene in Flatland when its two young protagonists find themselves on Flatland is the result of gutsy, kinetic
a horse tearing down the highway somewhere near Beaufort West. They’re on the run, and – filmmaking – eccentric and charming,
having decided they’ve had it with small-town life – are on their way to the bright lights of Joburg. deranged and unsanitised. It has
Like the film itself, these women are on a wild ride through what might be the badlands of a screwball energy that manages to
countless cowboy films. It’s an image that beautifully captures filmmaker Jenna Bass’s twisted contain all that grit, plus plenty of raw
take on the Hollywood western. Instead of the Wild West, though, we’re in the Karoo, and instead emotion and freewheeling action. It
of John Wayne in the saddle, it’s Nicole Fortuin as a runaway bride named Natalie and Izel includes such a barrage of elements in
Bezuidenhout as Poppie, her pregnant-to-bursting sister-from-another-mother. These two are in fact, that it sometimes feels unlikely
for one hell of a ride – one that’s unconventional and heaps of fun to watch. that all the pieces will eventually come

At times, you feel like you’re being pulled along with the characters as they chart a course
through a troubled frontier, bump heads with shady blokes in saloons and at truck stops, collide
with all sorts of strays and misfits and sneering, snarling men, and ultimately face off in a finale
that’s seriously messed up. Messy is pretty much the way Bass likes her films to be – filled
with the chaos and grit of reality. She says she loves films that include all the confusion and
disorderliness of life. ‘For me, an interesting film is one that takes you on a whole quest, up and

down the emotional spectrum, and then
leaves you in a different place afterwards,’
says Bass. ‘I enjoy those kinds of films
because, for me, they’re closer to the
experience of life. There’s this feeling
afterwards of having gone through a
rollercoaster ride. And that feeling is
exactly what I wanted to achieve with
this film.’

Road movie? Western? Detective thriller? Chick
flick? Revenge movie? Yes, yes, it’s all these
things. And there’s comedy and a hail of bullets,
too. It starts innocently enough, though. In
Beaufort West, Natalie – a total innocent with
a glint of foreboding in her eyes – marries
a cop named Bakkies (De Klerk Oelofse; pictured
left). Things turn nightmarish when the bridal
bedroom becomes a scene of sexual violence;
Natalie grabs her husband’s gun and sets off into
the night, triggering mayhem.

Screen queen Peter Rabbit 2: The Trolls World Tour
Also coming to The music-making trolls played by
cinemas soon It may be competing with the new Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake
007 movie which comes out on the discover that they’re only one of six
same day, but who can resist a bunny different tribes of troll, each devoted
this precocious and devilishly cute? to a different music genre, namely
The lovable, furry rogue originally funk, country, techno, classical, pop
created by author Beatrix Potter is and rock. Meanwhile rock ‘n’ roll royals
voiced by James Corden, with Margot Queen Barb and her father King Thrash
Robbie no doubt doing something (played by Ozzy Osbourne, of course)
very different from her Harley Quinn want to destroy all other kinds of music
portrayal to fashion the voice of Flopsy. – prepare for all sorts of rollicking fun.
Opens 3 April Opens 10 April

32 APRIL 2020


Joining Natalie on her unplanned getaway is her bestie, Poppie (pictured below), who is very pregnant
and very keen on mischief. They strike out, Thelma and Louise style, but make the mistake of enlisting
the help of the father of Poppie’s baby, a womanising truck driver played by Clayton Evertson. He
invariably tries his luck with Natalie (main image), with tumultuous consequences.

together. ‘I can’t imagine making films that are just one Black Widow
tone the whole way through,’ Bass says. ‘Life is this
really messy combination of tragedy and comedy and Helmed by director Cate Shortland,
action and romance. Even the most ordinary domestic the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic
life has multiple shades and I get frustrated if I can’t Universe stars Scarlett Johansson
capture all those emotional colours in a single film. It as Black Widow (aka Natasha
sometimes has the result that the film feels all over the Romanova) who at birth was given
place or gets pretty messy because it’s trying to do too to the KGB and groomed to be its
much. But that’s really intentional for me. I can’t make ultimate agent. After the Soviet Union
them any other way.’ breaks up, she ends up in New York
where she’s dishing out justice on
Seriously Single a freelance basis. Opens 1 May

Starring Fulu Mugovhani and Tumi APRIL 2020 33
Morake, this romcom takes a look

postponedat the hurdles faced by single black

women navigating the world of
romance. Serial monogamist Dineo
is forever falling in love in hopes of
landing a husband. But despite all
the dates, she keeps getting dumped
and the hoped-for happy day never
comes. Opens 1 May


Faith Baloyi’s portrayal of a tenacious police detective
Bass says the film’s genesis came from her desire to named Beauty Cuba is one of the most enjoyable
make a proper western. ‘It started with the landscape,’ performances you’ll see this year. Apart from tracking the
she says. ‘I just thought it would be really cool to set runaway teens, she’s faced with the fact that the 15-year
a western in the Karoo – I wanted to duplicate the genre jail stint of her former lover, played by Brandon Daniels
in a local context.’ She says though that the more she (pictured above and below left), has just come to an end.
delved into the western genre, the more sceptical she
became. ‘Because, if you look back at where westerns
come from, you realise that they’re colonial narratives
typically about men going out and conquering the
wilderness.’ Of course, in Bass’s hands, Flatland was
never going to be a straightforward western. So, while
it takes its cue from Hollywood cowboy flicks, it blurs
genres, lapsing between the horse opera it sets out to
be, a crime thriller and a girls-gone-wild road movie –
ultimately, it’s kind of unlike any South African film we’ve
ever seen, revolutionary in the way it weaves in all sorts
of unexpected twists into an entertaining romp that also
challenges the social order.

Girls gone wild

Flatland is also a thrilling feminist romp, not only subverting quite a few traditionally macho,
testosterone-driven narratives, but also giving us female characters who succeed on their
own terms. ‘When I started working on this film, I don’t even think I would have identified
as being a feminist,’ says Bass. ‘I really didn't think too much about gender and I was quite
apolitical. Things changed quite a lot along the way – a lot of it was following instinct.
Originally I said, ‘Oh, I want to make a western, so let me watch lots of westerns. And as
I did, I realised that something was bothering me. I realised it was because of a lack of
female characters. I began wondering how I could change the genre, not only by including
women characters but by having them dominate the film.’ Aside from wanting to mess with
expectations, Bass says her instinct to deal with gender came from personal experience.
‘Some parts of the film were drawn from humiliations in my own life. Not necessarily
because of what men did to me, but because of the things I did to myself in order to please
those men.’

Toorbos Misbehaviour

René van Rooyen’s adaptation of Dalene Based on a true story and helmed
Matthee’s 2003 novel of the same name by another female director, Philippa
Lowthorpe, this delightful romp
postponedhas a healthy dose of magic realism to it, follows a group of flour-bombing
feminists who challenged restrictive
capturing protagonist Karoliena Kapp’s Western ideals of beauty at the
unusually intimate relationship with the spirit 1970 Miss World beauty pageant in
of the Knysna forest in which she grows up London. It stars Keira Knightley and
during the 1930s. The film plays out as a love Gugu Mbatha-Raw (whose doctor
triangle between Karoliena, the forest and dad is South African). Opens 1 May
the worldly man who marries her and who
tries to show her a life outside her natural
realm. Opens 1 May

34 APRIL 2020


Words: Keith Bain, Pictures: Proper Film / Gabriella Achadinha, Supplied Making films fearlessly

Bass says there’s an afterglow you get from certain kinds of films. ‘The
films that inspired me to make films are the ones that altered the way
I saw the world afterwards. When I left the cinema, everything was
tinted by what I had seen on screen and what I felt while watching. And
those films – and their impact – stayed with me. And that’s something
I try to do with all the films I make. I want to take you on a joyride and
leave you in a different place at the end.’ Bass says this means that
she works hard to make audiences experience her films viscerally so
that they’re felt as much as they are seen. Much of this has to do with
movement – she says she’s not too keen on static films. ‘I love movement in cinema. It’s always been really important to me because it’s what
makes cinema distinctive. I get quite frustrated with films that don’t use motion – because that’s the reason we watch them in the first place,

because they move.’
More difficult than making films with an impact, though, is getting the finance together

to make them happen. It’s not always an easy task, she says, mainly because she has
to work so hard to convince others to see her vision. She essentially began working on
the screenplay for Flatland in 2009, back when its plot revolved around some sort of
apartheid nuclear bomb. ‘The most difficult thing was having to explain over and over
again what the film was going to do – it was a case of trying to break down people’s
expectation of what a western was and what the female characters are capable of.’ Plus,
she says she had to change people’s expectations of what a South African film is. ‘For the
longest time, no-one has been ready for a film like this,’ she says. ‘But now all of a sudden
it seems so obvious.’ Not that there’s anything obvious in Flatland. It’s rich, vibrant, exciting
entertainment – the kind that every so often makes you want to punch the air and say,
‘You go girl!’. And it brings a whole new perspective – not only to the Karoo, but to South
African cinema.

Jenna Bass (pictured left) says she was pretty
clear that, as a western, Flatland had to have
a shootout at the end. ‘But because the characters
are unconventional, I also wanted to reframe the big
gunfight finale a bit. So it’s this really weird shootout
because nobody’s really trying to kill anyone. It’s inept
and comedic and not meant to be a slick shooter – it’s
a bunch of people who really don’t want to be in that
situation in the first place.’

Festival pass

Film festivals attract a lot of hype suggesting they’re prestigious events with free-flowing bubbly and endless
red carpets. But the truth is they’re marketing opportunities with a lot of pressure on filmmakers and producers
and a lot of media buzz and they’re seldom, if ever, as sexy as they’re made to seem. Flatland premiered last
February at Germany’s Berlinale, where it was the opening film at the Panorama section of the acclaimed
international festival. ‘A lot gets made of films that go to festivals internationally,’ says Bass, who has travelled
to many of them. ‘It’s really great exposure but they’re not necessarily a free pass to ultimate success. It’s
always a lot less glamorous than it’s expected to be – especially outside of South Africa where your movie is
just another foreign film and you’re part of the crowd like everybody else. Neither is it all just red carpets and
champagne – at least not in my experience. When I go to festivals with actors, I always try to prepare them by
letting them know that they’re not going to become instant celebrities. You still fly economy class, you know.’ APRIL 2020 37


Spandex tights, fake tans,
and grimaces straight out
of the superhero playbook,

these muscle-bound
real-life Hulks keep a lot

of folks glued to their
televisions APRIL 2020 41


Measures that go into
maintaining the illusion

that pro wrestling is
a legitimate competition,

rather than a scripted
performance. The word

comes from the pig
Latin for ‘be fake’, most
probably originated by
pronouncing it backwards



The hero of a storyline or
match, designed to draw

audience adoration.


The villain, who draws
the ire of the audience,
typically booked to fight

against the face.


To react appropriately and
realistically in the ring,

typically in response to an
opponent’s move.


When a wrestler

goes off script, either
verbally or physically.


A live or recorded
address by a wrestler,
typically either to promote
themselves or berate an



The character or persona
adopted by a wrestler.

42 APRIL 2020


The noise of the crowd is The world of professional wrestling is RSEOTLHLINS
deafening. With a roar, the a strange and complicated one, full of big
face launches himself off the personalities, elaborate fictions and soap Real name: Colby Lopez Pedigree
turnbuckle and onto the heel, who flops operatic backstories that include disputes BBiilllleeddwheeiigghhtt:: 1.85m
to the mat beneath the 100kg weight of both real and fictional, all centred around SignatureMfinaitschheerss:: 98kg
the face. The face hops up and celebrates, frequently enormous athletes facing off in 1418
playing to the crowd extravagantly, the ring in matches that are scripted yet Curb Stomp;
earning major fire. Suddenly, the heel is improvised, staged yet brutal.
on his feet and he has the face in a full
nelson. He acknowledges the heat from the Professional wrestling as we know it today
crowd with a smug grimace before launching hasCitoslbreoyoLtospienz the travelling carnivals of
into a brutal tombstone, upending the face the late 19th century, when wrestlers would
and slamming him headfirst into the mat. participate in matches against each other
Yeowch! That must’ve hurt! But don’t worry and brave members of the public. They
folks: he’s okay. It’s all part of kayfabe. quickly learned that oversized personas
and creative costumes were big drawcards,
Confused? You’re probably not alone. and the theatrics began to overshadow the
But if all of this makes sense, then athleticism of the sport.
you’re among an estimated 11 million
WWE fans around the world. Fans who Wrestling began to lose its appeal in the
absolutely lap up this madness. early 20th century due to doubts over its
For the uninitiated, WWE stands for legitimacy, before a group of three promoters:
World Wrestling Entertainment, the Ed Lewis, Billy Sandow and Joseph Mondt
company previously known as WWF (when stepped in to control and change the face
it was the ‘Federation’), until litigation by of the sport. Known as the Gold Dust Trio,
the World Wide Fund for Nature forced the they introduced a more flamboyant style of
name change. wrestling known as Slam Bang Western Style
Wrestling, incorporating wild moves, tag-team
matches and referee distractions, providing
the template for modern wrestling still used
today. They also monopolised the talent pool of
wrestlers, signing them to lucrative contracts
that ensured a steady paycheque for the

Capetonian pretty boy Justin Gabriel
was South Africa’s first legitimate WWE
superstar, wrestling for the promotion
from 2008 through 2015 and winning
the WWE Tag Team Championship three
times with partner Heath Slater. He may
have left WWE, but you can still catch
him in the form of a Mattel wrestling

doll action figure, and he appears in
WWE video games. APRIL 2020 43


fighters. In doing so, they laid the groundwork gradually, probably the
for the modern business model of wrestling. biggest turning point
came after a WWE Raw
BLaosbhblyey But is it real sore? match in early 2015
(Paige and Emma vs the
BBiillRlleeeddaMlwhaneetaciigmghhheetst:::: Franklin Roberto Lashley Arguing about whether or not wrestling is Bella Twins) lasted just
Signature finishers: 1.91m real is an exercise in semantics. Everything 30 seconds – significantly
118kg you see in the ring is real. Those men and less than their entrances.
415 women are slapping, punching, kicking, flying Fans took to social
The Dominator; Spear into, lifting, dumping and jumping onto each THIS IS THE media to protest, and
other. It hurts. However, the outcomes of the MAN’S WORLD #GiveDivasAChance was
matches are pre-determined and the fighters emblazoned all over the
are trained to wrestle in such a way that they It’s a sign of the times Twitterverse for three
don’t incur or cause serious injury (what do that perhaps the most days. The company was
you think would happen if you actually full-on entertaining, and thus forced to take note, and
drove someone’s head into the floor?). The most famous wrestler since then has doubled
feuds, the outlandish personalities, the fights in the world is a woman. the number of women
are all part of what is known as kayfabe. Yes, it’s confusing that on its roster, held its first
Becky Lynch refers to all-women’s pay-per-
This is a matter of public record. In herself as The Man – in view event, and pushed
1989, then-WWF CEO and larger-than-life a sort of tongue-in-cheek at least somewhat more
personality Vince McMahon, tired of the hijacking of masculine complicated storylines
administrative and financial burden of being ideals – but there’s for its female stars. In
regulated by the State Athletic Commission, no denying she is the 2018, Alexa Bliss and
told the State of New Jersey Senate that wrestler everyone is Sasha Banks became the
wrestling was ‘an activity in which participants watching right now. first women to wrestle
struggle hand-in-hand primarily While women have been in Abu Dhabi. Now Lynch
on the wrestling ballot is the biggest thing in
for decades, for much WWE, and she’s pushing
of that time they were for even more. In an
treated as eye candy, as incendiary interview at
sideshow attractions to CES 2020, the wrestler
the main event (at one addressed the pressures
stage, the WWE staged still placed on women in
cringeworthy bra and the sport. ‘Oftentimes,
panties matches, which I feel like I have the
saw the loser stripped weight of a gender on
down to her underwear). my shoulders. A million
Although their profile guys have had terrible
continued to grow main event matches,
but if I have a subpar
main event match, the
question comes up,
“Should women be main
eventing?” And that’s
a load of crap,’ she said
bluntly. ‘Unfortunately,
we always have to be
on our game until that’s
not a question anymore.
So we are in a position
where we have to be
extra so that the future
generations don’t have to
deal with that anymore.’

44 APRIL 2020



Words: Anthony Sharpe, Pictures: Supplied SignBaBtiuilllrlReeeedMdfiawnalhiteneschiiahggemehhrssett:::::FN561FAi9ag5l.si7t8ukehu8ghrlreemraylEEiSgleihlzetacLbteeiogthn-l;ock goes into it. At the end of the day, the Make space in your displays of
talent is the ones that sink or swim. Either calendar for a few showmanship and
for the purpose of providing entertainment they get it done or they don’t.’ hours of showboating, athleticism – and,
to spectators rather than conducting grandstanding, some might argue,
a bona fide athletic contest’. With that, Jarrett is, however, quick to point out smack-talking and sheer madness
McMahon officially broke kayfabe: the that it’s the symbiotic relationship between perhaps even a little and utter mayhem.
facade was lifted, as was state regulation wrestlers and fans that really brings an bit of wrestling. Even Seeing these
of the sport, and McMahon’s signature event home. ‘Fan reaction may be the most if you’ve seen it on TV wrestlers big and
term, ‘sports entertainment’ was born. key component to any live event,’ he says, and thought, ‘meh’, you small flinging
‘the reason being that WWE superstars might have your world themselves at each
The most successful wrestlers are feed off that energy; the entire arena turned upside-down other with bone-
therefore those deemed to be most feeds off that energy. If there is a rowdy when you catch the crunching force,
entertaining, or those who serve the section in one part of the crowd it will craziness live, with you’ll soon realise
greater narrative arc best. WWE Hall invigorate other parts of the arena to get those monster-size that, staged or not,
of Famer and producer Jeff Jarrett has up. The crowd reaction is of the utmost athletes in the flesh, it’s pretty incredible
wrestled a staggering 873 matches in importance; it is truly the decision oozing sweat and stuff. WWE LIVE was
a career spanning more than three maker that takes a good event to a great letting out guttural scheduled to be in
decades, so he knows all about how hard event. If you have a great crowd, you have roars. Pick a wrestler Mzansi this month
these entertainers work. ‘The performer, a great event.’ to support and holler and next for events in
the sports entertainer, is the one who has yourself hoarse as you Cape Town, Durban
to go down the aisle and not only walk the witness extraordinary and Joburg, but has
walk, but talk the talk,’ says Jarrett. ‘It’s been cancelled. For
a very collaborative effort between now, you'll have
writers, producers, the television to catch the likes
production team – it takes an entire team, of Seth Rollins™,
from lighting to camera, everything that Becky Lynch™,
Charlotte Flair™,
Bobby Lashley™, The
O.C.™, Ricochet™ and
Aleister Black™ on
TV. APRIL 2020 47

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