One of South Africa’s sharpest and most uncompromising satirists, Ben Voss, unleashes a character he feels represents the face of the new South Africa the rich, black, opinionated and botox-ed Business Woman of the Year, Beauty Ramapelepele.
Here she celebrates winning the largest fabric contract in South African history through expert insider dealing: the manufacture and supply of all costumes for the opening ceremony of the 2010 World Cup.
The rise of the extraordinary character of Beauty Ramampelepele has been meteoric. She is best known for her stage show Beauty and the BEE as well as her scathing satirical revue on both Jacaranda FM and East Coast Radio, both stations with well over 1.5 million listeners nationwide.
Her shows have had sell out successes in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria, Harare, Gaborone and elsewhere. She has shared the stage with Piter Dirk Uys’s Evita and is fast becoming a leading South African personality as Africa’s Dame Edna Everage.
Ben’s character exhibits shady struggle-credentials with her drug-running father killed in the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, a sister married to the Head of the Reserve Bank, and Zanele Mbheki as a personal friend.
Add in a construction-mogul husband who landed the contract on the new King Senzangakhona soccer stadium, and Beauty becomes an expert on all the underhand gossip in the power corridors of South African business and politics.
Ben Voss and his outrageous alter-ego were spotted by Oval House Theatre at the Harare International Festival of the Arts in 2009. Shocking audiences with an audacious eulogy to Robert Mugabe, Voss also courted controversy with his statement that Mugabe is like a floater in the toilet. You keep flushing and flushing, but he keeps on coming back.
Oval House Theatre commissioned Voss to write a new show for Beauty in the lead up to the World Cup in South Africa, and Bend it Like Beauty has its world premiere at Oval House before returning to South Africa in June. Tart tongued and outrageous, Beauty has her own morning show on South Africa’s Jacaranda FM and her controversial public appearances have courted incited heated debate throughout southern Africa.
Beauty and the BEE
Venue: Oval House Theatre
Address: 52 to 54 Kennington Oval, London, SE11 5SW
Dates: 25th May to 12th June 2010
Times: Tues Sat at 7.45pm
Price: £12, (£6 concessions)
Box Office: 020 7582 7680 / www.ovalhouse.com
Transport: Tube: Oval (Northern Line) & Vauxhall (BR and Victoria Line)
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Audio Described Performance June 11th with Ruth James & Willie Elliot