South Africa had a dramatic 20 years. From the feel-good years of sporting achievements, including hosting the rugby, cricket and football World Cups to negative things like the high crime rate. We are constantly looking for something good about our country and that’s where Play Your Part, Sundays at 9.30pm on SABC 2, comes in. It’s a docu-series about South Africans, famous and ordinary, who have played a part in making the country a better place. Hosted by award winning kwaito musician and former SA’s Got Talent judge, Kabelo Mabalane, the show introduces you to another side of South Africa – a place where people believe in active citizenship and work with their communities to change lives.
What’s Play Your Part about?
Play Your Part is about finding and highlighting South Africans who are doing and have done, extraordinary things to make the country a better place.
From high profile to low profile, ordinary South Africans, we tell the stories of the good work they do for the benefit of other South Africans, while also paying tribute to some of our living legends who had to carve their careers during trying times.
Why do we need a show like Play Your Part ?
There’s a culture of expecting handouts, passing the buck and blaming others if things don’t go our way. In essence, the show is about making people see that they can also be the change that they want to see.
Does the show also look at our history and pay tribute to people who’ve played a part in shaping the country?
We can’t ignore South Africa’s history and the people who sacrificed themselves for the freedom we enjoy. People like Bra John Kani, Ma Abigail Kubeka. Hearing them tell their story was a deep experience.
We also pay tribute to people who are making a difference. There’s a Bernard Viljoen who was arrested for a DUI (driving under the influence) and was sentenced to community service. He asked the magistrate if he could start a photography course for underprivileged children. Five years later, he’s still running |the course.
What have you learnt from the show?
That it’s important to celebrate people and thank them for their service to society. That if I want to see change in my community, I also need to get involved.
Why did you agree to host the show?
I wanted to learn something new and meet amazing South Africans. And through it I realised the importance of positive, active citizenship. It’s not always about what government leaders can do for us, but it’s about us citizens being active in our own community and doing all we can to make the difference.
I’m always reminded of the youth of 1976. They are the greatest example of active citizenship and what it means. They wanted a change and they fought for that change.
Who made the most impact?
It’s difficult to isolate one person. They are all amazing stories and they are all about triumph and perseverance.
Okay, but who did you learn the most from?
Ah, it has to be Viljoen. He turned something bad into something good. He could have easily served his sentence and then went back to his life. But he started something that has changed so many people’s lives.
You were a judge on two seasons of SA’s Got Talent. Do you miss the show?
I do. I enjoyed my time being a judge on the show, but it was time for something new. I found a new passion and being on SA’s Got Talent was not going to give me the flexibility I needed. But the funny thing is that with the show, I was also playing a part where I was shaping someone’s destiny and helping them fulfil their dreams.
What part have you played in shaping SA?
Shout SA, which I co-founded with Danny K, is an example of me playing my part. We use music with fellow artists to bring a positive message to the country and call others to fight the scourge of crime. Through Shout SA, we realised that a lack of education is one of the many issues that sometimes lead to crime and so we built three libraries – in Soweto, Mitchell’s Plain and Limpopo. It’s a big passion of mine.
What part are you going to play from this moment on?
The show has inspired me to do more and to get involved and that’s what I’m going to do.
This article was published in the 20th July 2014 issue of SMtv