That silver lining

Oscar Masemola, Edward Matarusi, Abiza Chikanya

Three Wallacedene mime artists are fast becoming a hit attraction on Cape Town’s streets.

Calling themselves the Company of Softaz, Abiza Chikanya, 28, Oscar Masemola, 26, and Edward Matarusi, 21, perform across the city.

Coated in paint, they perform as living statues that start to dance when people put money in their tins.

Chikanya started the group back in 2014. He was making decorative house numbers at the time and started miming to entertain his customers.

Early in 2015, Masemola asked to work with him.

“Oscar came up with the idea of using water paint and music. But most of the time we don’t play music we have our own way of communication while we are performing,” he said.

Masemola, who is originally from Mamelodi, said he had wanted to work with Chikanya the first time he saw him perform.

“I was fascinated by his moves the first time I saw him. I thought let me join him and dance together. I like dancing. I grew up listening to music a lot.” Masemola said he was born to be an entertainer.

“The painting is what attracts people to watch us. When we are performing, each member carries his tin for donations. Once you put in money we move and dance then we stop again. We use body language to communicate or to change the style,” he said.

Matarusi, who along with Chikanya is from Zimbabwe, started acting when he was still in high school. The group’s performance, he said, had a lot to do with what they happened to be wearing at the time.

“If we are wearing suits or are dressed formally, our style is more dignified and respectful. But if we are wearing shorts and vests, we are more like comedians, and people enjoy that.”

On a good day they can make about R250 to R300, but they have to run from police and security guards when they perform in town.

“We do perform in Cape Town, Bellville, Strand Beach, Nyanga, Gugulethu and Samora Machel. Sometimes we get invites to some of the taverns in Kraaifontein to entertain people,” said Matarusi.

The group rent a house together and use the money they earn from their performance to pay rent and buy groceries and clothes.

* Anyone wanting to hire them can call Edward Matarusi at 074 458 4480.