Although lockdown has been eased somewhat, the Covid-19 pandemic has left us feeling increasingly stressed and frustrated.  Once a source of light-hearted entertainment, our social media feeds have become a breeding ground for hysteria, anger, and conspiracy theories. Even our favorite newspapers, magazines, and TV shows have become ‘coronavized’ – leaving us with virtually no escape from our current dubious reality.

Thankfully, we have one ally that has not failed us. For decades, we have been transfixed by the plethora of home-grown movies that have made us laugh, cry, rip out our hair in frustration, and even do the occasional dance for joy. If you are looking for something to take your mind off the coronavirus, why not consider making a bowl of popcorn and watching one of these proudly-South African films?

Keeping Up with the Kandasamys (2017)

Source: BoxOffice/DSTV

If you are looking for a movie that will leave you crying with laughter, Keeping Up with the Kandasamys should definitely be near the top of your list. Directed by Jayan Moodly and released in 2017, the movie stars Jailoshini Naidoo, Maeshni Naicker, Madhushan Singh, and Mishqah Parthiephal. The storyline delivers a laugh a minute and focuses on the rivalry between neighbours Shanti Naidoo, a typical Type-A personality people-pleaser, and fiercely-competitive Jennifer Kandasamy. When Jennifer’s daughter falls in love with Shanti’s son, the rivals realize that the only way they will be able to break up the couple is by working together – with hilarious consequences! The film not only earned R1.6 million during its opening weekend, but has also received praise from global film critics.

Khumba (2013)

Source: IMDb

If you and your family are fans of popular animated movies such as Madagascar, Open Season, and The Lion King, you will ADORE Khumba.  The movie, produced by local entertainment company, Triggerfish Animation Studios, tells the wonderful story of a half-striped zebra named Austin. Poor Austin is unfairly blamed for a terrible drought by his very superstitious herd and sets out on a journey to save all the animals and to gain the acceptance of his herd.  The title of the movie is derived from the Zulu word for ‘skin’. The message it delivers is very clear: be comfortable in your own skin.  Khumba was released in 2013 and is available in English, Zulu, and Afrikaans. Although aimed at a younger audience, the superb graphics and sharp-as-a-knife humour make it suitable for the entire family.

Spud (2010)

Source: IMDb

Spud follows the antics of John Spud Milton and the rest of the Crazy Eight,  Gecko, Rambo, Mad Dog, Fatty, Simon, Vern, and Boggo, at their posh boarding school in the KZN Midlands. Based on the coming-of-age novel series penned by John van de Ruit, the movie won the South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) for Best Editor and was nominated for an additional five awards. The movie is almost as amusing as the book series and Troye Sivan is as brilliant in the role of Spud, as John Cleese is as his very dodgy English teacher.  Other characters that will leave you in stitches include Spud’s dad (portrayed by Aaron McIlroy), Innocence (Brenda Ngxoli), and Wombat (Christine le Brocq). The entire 3-part movie series is a hoot and will definitely make you forget about all the craziness in the world – even if just for a while. Considering the popularity of both the book and the movie series, it is almost unforgivable that a fourth movie was never released.

Wonder Boy for President (2016)

Source: BoxOffice/DSTV

If political satires are your thing, you are bound to enjoy Wonder Boy for President. The movie stars Kagiso Lediga in the leading role and tells the story of a charming young man who is coerced by two corrupt characters into running for president.  The world premiere of the movie took place at the Durban International Film Festival in June 2016 and has a reputation for being as astute as it is hilarious. The movie does not purposefully undermine the racial strife in the country and pokes fun at the political environment as a whole. Apart from an amusing storyline, the film also features footage from a variety of political rallies and events, inadvertently casting the likes of former president Jacob Zuma, Helen Zille, Mmusi Maimane, and Julius Malema in supporting roles.

Mr. Bones (2001)


No list of South African comedies will be complete without at least one Leon Schuster movie on it. Singling out just one Schuster movie is undeniably a difficult feat. For the sake of this list, however, we will focus our attention on the 2001 classic, Mr. Bones. Released nearly a decade ago, the storyline follows the adventures of a medicine man (Mr. Bones) who is sent to look for the long-lost son of the King of Kuvukiland. African ‘traditions’ are played up against ambition and greed in the movie and much of the humor is derived from a play on a reversal of racial stereotypes. The film stars Schuster in the role of medicine man, Mr. Bones, and features the directorial talents of industry veteran, Gray Hofmeyr.

Other worthy mentions include:
  • There’s a Zulu on My Stoep
  • White Wedding
  • Bakgat
  • Funny People
  • Mama Jack
  • Karate Kallie
  • Beautiful People
  • Love Lives Here

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