Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Half full or half empty?

“Khanyeeeeee! Khanyeeeeee! Khanyeeeeee!”

Here she is, right next to us, in the heart of the scrum. Khanyi Mbau! In a men’s suit, her hair scraped back in a tight ponytail, and smiling demurely as her companions negotiate for access.

Metres away, security guards wrestle to keep fans behind a forlorn strand of security tape. We advance one step. I clutch my VIP tickets tenaciously. We’ve got five paces to go, to squish through the throng and we’re in, into the inner sanctum, the VIP Ballroom at the SA music awards, Samas 17!

We pop out into the hall like two newborns in suits, Orro’s and I. I’m sure I can hear the triumphant Star Wars theme playing somewhere. There are silver chalices filled to the brim with Heinekens on ice, waiters offering biltong nibbles, and more celebrities than you can wave an access bracelet at.

I’m got some hair product on. That’s when you know it’s a special moment.

No ways! There’s Amu!

“That guy’s the best rapper in SA,” I tell Orro’s, then lunge at Amu, shake both his hands, say, Thankyouforthemusicwemetonetimedunnoifyouremember.” Then I throw myself at his wife, tell her she’s gorgeous and come scampering back to where Orro’s is already on his second Heinie.

Sashi Naidoo swishes by in a ballgown. That’s Jon Savage from 5FM! And Dave Kibuuka! And Loyiso Gola! And the girl from that thing!
I’m getting whiplash from all the celeb-spotting, so we retreat to the dome, where the show is set to start.

We get to our seats and we’re just in front of Jen Su from 5FM, Liezl from Idols and Simba from Top Billing. Orro’s spots Julius Malema in the row in front of us and begins plotting his approach. “Bro, this could be the start of my political career.”

In front of me sits Brendan from the Arno Carstens band. Up on stage, Bonang and Phat Joe make their entrance and it’s all on – South Africa’s biggest music and celebrity spectacular!

On our right, a large bald man in glasses isn’t happy, though. “Sit down!” he bellows, and then hisses under his breath “I can’t even see the stage!”

About fifty people are still trying to find their seats, so they’re standing in the aisles, watching the show. Luckily, there are massive big screens relaying the action, but this isn’t enough for our neighbor. “If I’d wanted to watch this on TV, I’d have stayed at home,” he mutters, and then, “Please find your seats and sit down.”

From where we’re sitting, the only unpleasant part of the show is the complaining audience member. Yoh! And there comes Yolandi from Die Antwoord, suspended over the audience on wires! And MC Ninja rapping with the Johannesburg Philharmonic!

“Please keep quiet!” Bald Man admonishes two ladies chatting behind us. “I can’t hear the show!”

…And onto the stage steps Professor, winner of three Samas tonight! The crowd rises as one, as his performance begins with a rap from Oskido, the true King of Kwaito!

The only man still seated is the Bald Man, muttering. “I can’t see. Some of us have paid for this, you know.”

He should really just stand up and dance!

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