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Mr South Africa

From Jocks to Jokes

by Robin Scher and Andy Davis / 19.11.2010

Have you ever seen the film Drop Dead Gorgeous? It’s a fantastic mockumentary following the contestants of a beauty pageant as they progress through the competition. Well, substitute small town Minnesota for klein dorpie Gauteng and the film’s lead Kirsten Dunst for a bulked-up Afrikaans gentleman and you’ll almost have an idea of the comedy potential that is Mr SA.

What could only be described as the offspring of Derek Zoolander and Vernon Koekemoer, Adriaan Bergh appeared on our screens recently, awkwardly answering questions whilst growing sweat patches appeared under his arms. Playing golf and rugby “on a national level”, he represents one of the many potential finalists’ of Mr South Africa 2011 – “the search for South Africa’s most desirable man”. Adriaan, along with his fellow competitors, are the latest comedy meme to hit internet land, providing further insight into the unique South African subculture most recently labelled ‘Zef’.

Ninja can take his faux-lingo and hip hop anger management antics, Albert Kruger is a far better role model to school you in the real Zef culture. His video, backed by the looped, never-ending intro to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ takes you on a tour of the hustle and bustle of Albert’s everyday life in Polokwane. From his promising Printer Cartridge refilling business (note the fantastic rainbow motif store sign), Albert introduces us to his confused and nervous ‘technicians’ – the scene literally dripping with small town racial tension that culminates with a strained ‘Ayoba’. Then onto his endeavours as an ‘inventor’ – I wait with bated breath for Albert’s first patented product to revolutionise the way we braai. The video continues from this point on as Albert shows us why he truly should be crowned Mr SA. Evidently pursuing an active lifestyle from lifting bowling balls to wearing floppy hats and jumping on logs, it’s clear that Albert is a worthy competitor, leaving us with his resounding insight on life, “Live until you die” – never a truer word spoke dear Albert.

Then there’s Peter Constandinou with his camp voice and his guns, driving to Joburg from Bloem “the second time this week I’ll be up in Joburg. That’s the passion and the drive for Mr South Africa.”

Witness Chase Watkin-Jones… seriously. We could write a whole story just on his name. And he’s also a bit of a ninja. Why he chose to video himself being bliksemmed by a black oke remains to be seen. Is it a strategy to win over the new South African voting public, or is it an allusion to the contemporary South African whitey zeitgeist? Who knows. All we can do is leave you with his wisdom: “Words might be immortal but you’ll be gone one day.” We urge you to get online and vote for Chase to get a tattoo.

Aside from the ridiculous cornucopia of comedy that these videos offer, they also emphasise the somewhat perverse and farcical nature of beauty pageants, especially when men are involved. Almost every competitor’s video features them showing off their muscled bodies as they take you through their daily workout routine and list of ‘manly activities’ they enjoy doing. Unwitting, over-testosteroned jocks offered up as cyber mock fodder. You have to love the democracy of the internet and how it feeds our baser desires to point and laugh.

At the same time, these videos have unwittingly exposed the massive chasm in South African society, a bas-relief between sincere mainstream self promotion a more savvy, sophisticated and ironically aware audience. They’ve obviously been produced earnestly, to position the semi-finalists as potential winners of the Mr SA crown, and therein lies their comedic genius. They invite us to laugh at them because of their vanity and audacious attempts at self promotion. They shine a spotlight on the arcane paradigm of body competitions and offer a real and rare glimpse of the often mocked and parodied South African mainstream, so frequently mined to produce acts like Corne and Twakkie, Jack Parow, the Vodacom ads and yes, you guessed it, Die Antwoord.

For this rare comedy gold, we are eternally grateful – thank you Mr SA, thank you Youtube, thank you South African corporate culture of gym boys and protein shakes.

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RESPONSES (21)
  1. Sindy-Lou says:

    Here’s the Adriaan Bergh video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ooq1HvZDMg

    It is AWESOME!

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  2. Andy says:

    Thanks Sindy… added it into the text. Too good!

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  3. emmanence says:

    Hahaha, I have to confess to spending about 40 minutes yesterday viewing all the clips, besides the zef and the laughter factor, the ongoing hilarity was the ‘I entered Mr South Africa to make a difference for people’ bullshit that spewed regularly from the mouths of the beefstukke, rather than the truth ‘I’m vain, I want the prizes, I want to be called Mr South Africa’, ‘I want to be a C list SA celebrity’ and ‘it will do so much for my career in PR/MC’ing/modelling’….

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  4. mick says:

    And thank you Chuck, Laureaute of the eternal Movember.

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  5. TTDouble07 says:

    LOL!! LOL!! Kif!! I’ve always wondered if these contests still have any place in modern day soceity…perhaps to just laugh really!
    I remember the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous…great laughs!

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  6. Kook says:

    But… but how do these people even GET like this??!! Are there any that aren’t complete and utter douches? Or does it take a special kind of idiotic vanity to spend that much time in the gym and enter beauty contests? I wonder if a really intelligent, average-build, good looking chap would ever get anywhere? I mean correct me if I’m wrong, but most women over the age of 16 seem to find that more attractive that this lot!

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  7. speechless says:

    “a beautiful, yet intelligent woman”… WINK

    priceless

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  8. speechless says:

    sorry, my previous comment was in regard to Adriann Bergh’s interview with the blonde totty.

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  9. kevna says:

    The funniest thing ever! And is it just me or did the adriaan dude have sweat patches under his arms at 1 point (might’ve been my imagination) thanks for making my week! Especially with that last clip from A!!

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  10. kevna says:

    Oh I meant AT with the spoof link.

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  11. Matthew Eriksen says:

    I love how he uses 7 words when asked for 5. Also, “gorgeous YET intelligent” – because of course, these things are generally mutually exclusive. This is truly great.

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  12. JM Koet$ee says:

    These clips are hilarious. But what are people laughing at? Consider how Don Packett’s spoof would be more interesting and complicated if he used a standard SA English accent…

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  13. ClaireinCT says:

    Did the contestants make their own videos? At first I assumed the production company was diabolical but now i’m thinking they must be self-made?

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  14. Lame-o says:

    And the first guy has removed his video from Youtube… he should go with it, embrace it & he’ll probably win!

    Re the spoof – really lame, I think. The humour is soooo obvious that it’s boring. And why do a spoof when the original ones are so funny to start with? Come on, try a little harder guys!

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  15. Lame-o says:

    Erm, I don’t mean the Don Packett one, I mean the other one.

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  16. Lame-o says:

    … although Don Packett isn’t particularly original either. Why spoof when the original is so good? I don’t really understand. sigh.

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  17. griff says:

    Why not a spoof? They had fun doing it, so no harm. In stead of saying “try harder” why not pick up a camera and do one yourself? Or any video for that matter.

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  18. Andy says:

    dude keeps removing that video… it’s the shame of those sweat-stained armpits!

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  19. lame-o says:

    I wouldnt do a spoof because i don’t think it would be exceptionally good. That is kind of my point.

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