CityLife Arts

Celebrated actor Mpho “Fats” Molepo releases hilarious Covid satire

Sanitize Ville can be seen on YouTube

By Edward Tsumele

The rampaging coronavirus has opened a can of worms in South African society that manifests itself in different and sometimes uncomfortable and dangerous ways. This happens as different sectors of society respond to the life threatening pandemic.

For example, the greed  and corrupt, who are in positions  of power and influence over state resources, such as tenders and food parcels, and have access to state grants, will steal. The ignorant or naïve or selfish will ignore health protocols put in place by government to control the spread of the virus.

Popular veteran stage, film, TV actor and theatre producer Mpho “Fats” Molepo is playing his part in fighting the spread of the virus in communities by tackling those who are both selfish and ignorant, through a newly released two minute Video that is currently enjoying popularity on YouTube.

A screenshot from Sanitizeville.

This video in which Molepo is the director and provides the sound track,  (The actor is also a skilled musician of note, who plays the guitar, harmonica and pennywhistle, skilfully), aims at tackling those who are ignorant and selfish, and as a result of their acts, continue to spread the virus in communities.

Cleverly done in a satirical but humorous manner, Sanitize Ville, as the video is called, features two characters in a township environment: an uncle who has diabetes and his selfish nephew, who seems to be either ignorant or selfish, or both, about the danger of inviting friends during this level of social distancing and lockdown.

The nephew is seen on the phone, talking to his girlfriend, inviting her to come visit him at home, clearly defying the lockdown regulations under level3, which prohibits visits or invitations for visit to or by friends. The nephew guy tells the girlfriend on the other side of the call, who is clearly worried about being arrested by law enforcement officers, if she gets caught breaking the law, that she must feel at ease.

“Do not worry babes. I have a friend who is an ambulance driver, and as this is (seeing him) is an emergency, I will ask him to drive you here, and he will not be stopped by the police,” he says.

 At this stage, his uncle is at a breaking point, seething with anger, as he realizes that his nephew will put his life, especially as someone suffering from diabetes, and that of the community by inviting his girlfriend, who could be infected by the various, into danger. The stakes are high.

Evenutally, It is the confrontation and the exchanges between an uncle and a nephew, that brings to the fore, the selfishness and ignorance in communities when it comes to the way in which the varus spreads. But, it is done in a way that will leave you with a better insight of how the virus might be spreading in communities. But you will laugh too, as there is a lot of humour in this family confrontation.

In an interview with CityLife Arts this week, Molepo explained how this whole idea came together.

“Well the idea came when the country went on level lockdown. As I was frustrated, I came across a special call for covid-19 applications at DSAC.(Department of Sports, arts and Culture). I then applied. At home, I’m always on my computer developing concepts. I’ve always had itchy fingers. 

Sanitised Ville – Home Visit

 

The two actors real names are Paul Maila and Malizo Mdekazi. I just decided to keep their names. I worked with Paul in many industrial theatre productions. Funny Malizo asked me to mentor him years back when he came into the industry. And he’s got his video project titled Selfish, and he’s been sending me links. It was by default that I cast him. I don’t believe in auditions, hand picking always worked for me,” he said and added.

“Firstly, I identified the actors I wanted to work with in this project. We had a meeting, and had a discussion about what’s happening in our townships, and how a lot of people are not complying with the rules of lockdown.

From our discussions, I went back home to write scripts, and structuring them in episodes. There’s a lot content that comes with this, the financial muscles is not enough to carry us through. Some scenarios are done through animation, to be released next week,” Molepo said

He said that the process to complete the video from concptualisation. Writing, shooting and editing took him about a month.

“The scripting took about three days, then one day to shoot. The beauty of this is, when you’ve got a script, you’ve got guidance. I knew exactly what I wanted to film. Putting together a crew, was specifically to give young people an opportunity to work in the professional space.

Thamsanqa Dlamini who hails in Protea, Soweto, created the animation and helped with camera work. Khotso Makhothi recently graduated from AFDA, edited the project and helped with camera work as well. Arthur Mabunda of Qhubeka Records, operates in his backroom at his ‘ house in Protea.

I recorded all the voices for the animation and the theme song Sanitized Ville in his room on my guitar. For me I like giving kasi 9township) based young artists a chance and breakthrough in the industry and actually pay them for the work they produce. If I can make a difference in their lives, then I’m serving my purpose in life. I believe in human development, and that is key for me,” the actor proudly explained. 

The videos were released on Monday July 27, 2020 on YouTube. 

He continues. “As an actor, I have been involved in educational theatre for over 20yrs, Safety Health and Environment in the mines, and a lot of companies. My Mother is a teacher, and that has influenced in my creations of artwork.

I’m a son of an artist and educator, hence educational theatre. Even in my previous works, Diphala (a play) which was at the Market  Theatre in early 2000’s, it was factual, based on research. Silvertown that played at the Windybrow, it was also based on research, said Molepo whose father is celebrated stage and TV actor Arthur Molepo. 

The videos can be viewed on our YouTube channel, Molepo Projects Link

Sanitised Ville Washing of Hands

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