Mazwai spat shows we can’t keep our roasts in tsek
Fallout from Somizi's roast climaxed in a clash of the showbiz titans - but it all points to a trend we must curb
Oh, what would the Comedy Central roasts in South Africa be without their protracted (and sometimes sexist) squabbles involving their participants?
The latest surrounds Ntsiki Mazwai.
While the roast of Somizi Mhlongo aired more than a week ago, the fallout from the show hasn’t relented.
Naturally, it found its way onto Twitter, its climax involving two unlikely titans: Simphiwe Dana and Thandiswa Mazwai.
It was like two heavyweights meeting in the Uefa Champions League final – like Real Madrid v Juventus, who between them have won 67 league titles, when they came up against each other in 2017.This battle took place on the Twitter timeline; two brilliant and daring musicians and social activists, Dana v Mazwai. And just like that 2017 final, it ended up a one-sided battle. The former won it at a canter. But while there was a bit of sympathy for Juve, the Italian Old Lady, very few felt equally as sympathetic towards Thandiswa for coming out guns blazing in defence of her younger, vitriolic sister Ntsiki.
Ntsiki, who has dominated innumerable tabloid headlines over the years – not for her purported work, but for her Twitter feuds (mostly with celebrities) – came in for some badgering during the Comedy Central Roast of Somizi.
She is said to have taken offence to the jibes aimed at her, and had to have her inarguably talented big sis, Thandiswa, don the gloves and enter the ring on her behalf.
Some memorably stinging lines: “If you say ‘no talent’ three times in the mirror, Ntsiki Mazwai appears and drains all your talent.” – Joanne Josephs.Or: “Perhaps the most special thing about you is that you come from a family of brilliant and talented people. It’s too bad they crop you out of every single picture. But as a nation, my love, we can smell you through it” – Nomzamo Mbatha.Or: “I went onto your Instagram, and it said you’re a poet. I read some of your poetry and it said you’re not a poet.” – Schalk BezuidenhoutAnd finally: “Your sister is famous being the lead singer of Bongo Maffin, and you’re just an angry muffin.” – Fikile Mbalula.
In parts, just like it did during Steve Hofmeyr’s roast from a couple of years back, when Kuli Roberts came in for some stinging insults, it did feel like the roasters and scriptwriters saw an unmissable opportunity to nail someone who had nailed them publicly on several occasions. Or is it women?
There will be no shortage of condolers for Ntsiki Mazwai, except, clearly, if you’re Thandiswa, who sought to use her powerful position to swat away the acrimony surrounding her sister with a tweet, saying: “On behalf of @ntsikimazwai, her mother Belede who birthed her, the entire Vabaza/Mazwai clan and all who love her, I would like to say tsek! To all the haters. With love from the King.”Dana, who was at the centre of an infamous war of words with Ntsiki Mazwai (and reportedly has a spiky relationship with her older sister, too) hit back: “Haters that she generated for herself over many years here on Twitter. Don’t bore us. Your sister is a very vile person.”
If the scoreline in that 2017 Champions League final was 3-1 to the Spanish giants, this was 4-0. No contest. It’s what happens when you finally allow people to get shit off their chests.
But what it also pointed to is that South Africans keep doing the roast incorrectly. When we had the opportunity to lampoon the deranged right-winger, Steve Hofmeyr, we let him off the hook and instead made fun of Kuli Roberts’s penchant for the bottle (Trevor Noah also called her “McSlutty”). And when we had the opportunity to fete (or have a go at) Somizi Mhlongo, we spent most of the night giggling at cringey jokes about gay sex and cunnilingus and CD4 counts. The rest of the time was dedicated to Ntsiki Mazwai’s body odour.At Kenny Kunene’s roast a couple of years ago, the night became about Tumi Morake’s weight and Khanyi Mbau’s sexual escapades.There was Jimmy Carr on the comedienne Morake: “Tumi [Morake], when I was growing up in Britain at school, we used to raise money to send to the starving in Africa. I didn’t expect you to get all of it ... interesting fact: Tumi is the only thing in South Africa inflating faster than the rand.”
And Carr on Khanyi Mbau: “Khanyi is here ... I have a question: If you’re here, who is on Oxford Road this evening? I don’t understand.”
Somizi Mhlongo on Mbau: “They are jealous of your pussy, because it’s got a big turnover. Like ... fak’ imali kuphuma iLamborghini.”
Perhaps I’m the only one, but this may be becoming an uncomfortable trend that we may want to curb, unless we commit to ripping apart the men just as we do the women.