Democracy is a laughing matter

South Africa celebrated Freedom Day yesterday. This annual public holiday honours the country’s first democratic elections. 19,726,579 votes were cast between Tuesday, 26 April 1994 and Thursday, 28 April 1994.

Those three days changed South Africa forever. I will never forget the elderly black gentlemen walking past our family home on Tuesday, 26 April 1994. He had a huge smile on his face. He had every right to be beaming as he had waited almost an entire lifetime to vote for the first time.

I was too young to vote, but as a politically aware teenager, I was overjoyed that Apartheid had officially ended and a new era for South Africa was about to begin.  It was an exciting time! Seventeen years later and South Africa is still an exciting and dynamic place to live.  There is never a dull moment.

My wife and I visited Parker’s Comedy Club in northern Johannesburg on the eve of Freedom Day this week.
It was Urban Comedy night, which is a politically correct way of implying black comedians were delivering the one-liners. There was nothing politically correct about the comedy. Hosted by the brilliant Kedibone Mulaudzi, the comedians poked fun at every stereotype imaginable in Johannesburg. No one was spared!

The audience demographic was made up of all the colours of the rainbow nation. It also included Australians (yes, there was the obligatory sheep joke) and Germans.

It is by far one of my favourite evenings out in Johannesburg during 2011 . The comedy and audience participation reminded me how far we have come as a young democracy.  Comedy and freedom of speech are a good test for a democracy.

If Parker’s Urban comedy is anything to go by, we have a healthy democracy in South Africa.

*Parker’s Comedy and Jive Club has three venues across Gauteng. We attended the Monte Casino venue, open five nights a week from Tuesday to Saturday. For more information, click here.

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