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Laughter to fight for justice

TEN of the country's funniest comedians - many of them from Johannesburg - will stand up for human rights on Saturday night, 27 February.

The Social Injustice is No Joke - Comedy Intervention is a project of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and is organised by its 46664 unit and Real Concerts. The first gig takes place at the Sun City Superbowl on Saturday evening.

Featured comedians were announced at a press conference launching the intervention at the foundation's offices in Houghton on Tuesday, 23 February. They are David Kau, John Vlismas, Tumi Morake, Barry Hilton, Marc Lottering, Chris Forrest, Nick Rabinowitz, Trevor Noah, Darrell "Whackhead" Simpson and Ndumiso Lindi. The show will use comedy and social commentary to highlight social injustice and to raise funds for the Mandela charity organisations.

46664 is Mandela's global HIV/Aids awareness and prevention campaign. It aims to inspire individual and collective action towards an AIDS-free world. At its core, the campaign is about bringing hope and inspiration to all affected by HIV/Aids. To do this, it raises awareness about the HIV/Aids pandemic and the underlying issues that influence it, such as poverty, lack of education, gender inequality, lack of access to health facilities and the denial of economic opportunities.

It initially used music to raise funds for HIV and Aids, but will now expand its scope to include comedy to raise awareness and funds for issues of social justice. The comedy intervention will go international later in the year, performing in London.

Starting with the quips at the press conference already, Vlismas jokingly complained that Kau's annual Blacks Only comedy festival was discriminatory. Forrest instantly spoke up, saying: "I have participated in the festival; perhaps what is needed is to put on more weight." Forrest is white and huge; Vlismas is also white but is pencil-thin.

The only female comedian participating in the first series of the comedy festival, Morake, said: "It is good to be the only chick. At least I will have all the men for myself for the night at Sun City."

Tickets for Social Injustice is No Joke cost from R186 to R365 each and are available from Computicket outlets, on 083 915 8000 or 011 340 8000, or through the Computicket website. The show starts at 7pm.