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Satirist behind Coconut Kelz opens about mirroring her experience of racism

19 September 2020 10:36 AM
Tags:
Satire
coconut kelz
lesego thlabi

Lesego Thlabi's satirical character has many laughing, but some confused not seeming to understand Kelz is not a real person.

Since Coconut Kelz, the alter ego of satirist Lesego Thlabi, burst onto the scene she's been in high demand, with people wanting to get her take on everything from current affairs to culture.

But today Kelz is going to step aside as we get to know more about the person behind blond wig, says Weekend Breakfast host Sara-Jayne King.

Thlabi says a character like Coconut Kelz is better received in the current climate in South Africa than it would have been some ten years ago.

I definitely think, yes it is her time, especially that the first generation of 'rainbow kids' to go to private schools and go to multi-racial schools have grown up now and so Coconut Kelz is not a stranger to them that she was. She is definitely someone they would have interacted with.

Lesego Thlabi, Satirist

People are more receptive and open to this kind of humour, she says.

Though some people do struggle to understand it is a joke and a character..so it is well received but this is also a lot of push back and anger.

Lesego Thlabi, Satirist

Where is the pushback and anger coming from?

It comes mainly from black people surprisingly. It is people who do not understand satire. I get told I must remember where I come from, that I am black and must not go over the other side, they won't love you.

Lesego Thlabi, Satirist

Overall the feedback is great and she says people love the Coconut Kelz character and understand what she is doing.

It has been a really positive experience overall, and I am also really quick with the block button so I don't really interact with a lot of negativity.

Lesego Thlabi, Satirist

She says she receives a great deal of feedback from white people young and old who thank her for holding up the mirror to their unconscious racism which is often displayed on a micro-level rather than an overt use of the K-word.

Listen to the interview below:


19 September 2020 10:36 AM
Tags:
Satire
coconut kelz
lesego thlabi

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