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REVIEW - Thenjiwe: The Mandela Effect (Comedy, Stand-up) [Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023]


REVIEW - Thenjiwe: The Mandela Effect, Stand-up comedy, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023. Photo credit: Steve Ullathorne

South Africa’s first lady of comedy, Thenjiwe, makes her Edinburgh Fringe debut with her show ‘The Mandela Effect’.

Thenjiwe (pronounced Ten-Dewy) grew up in KwaMashu, South Africa’s most dangerous township; in a country labelled the 4th most dangerous in the World; is it any wonder she left?

In her new set, Thenjiwe shares her experiences of adjusting to life in the UK and in the USA. Her observations and outrage at the ignorance and disrespect that she has faced are infuriating as well as hilarious. There was plenty of head-shaking and tutting in the room as the audience joined in her indignation. She has lots of stories from her home town, from the injustices of apartheid, to the horror of public hospitals; but it's the assumptions about her and about 'Africa' by white western people that are both shocking and comical. Don't worry; you can laugh! Thenjiwe makes sure that we all feel comfortable laughing at the tragedy of ignorance.

Coming from a country with 11 official languages ("African" not being one of them!) Thenjiwe often throws out a translation of a word or a name into the crowd. Her skill, intelligence and keen wit are evident, and it's no surprise to learn that she was a successful lawyer before turning her hand to comedy. Unfortunately, she has plenty of examples of the insensitivity she faced in that profession too. She never takes herself too seriously, and she tells these stories to her audience to raise a laugh. But it really is disgraceful what some people think is OK.

Thenjiwe is a confident, engaging performer and it's clear that she is an experienced speaker and gifted comic. Her set is full of interest, intrigue and razor-sharp humour. I learnt a lot, but I also laughed a lot! Very well known in South Africa, it can only be a matter of time before she is a household name in the UK too... If only we'd just learn to pronounce it properly.


When and Where?

Venue: Just The Tonic – Cask Room

Time: 2.25pm

Dates: 3rd – 28th August (not 14th)

Tickets: £5!!!!!!

📸 Photo credit: Steve Ullathorne


About Thenjiwe

REVIEW - Thenjiwe: The Mandela Effect, Stand-up comedy, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023. Photo credit: Steve Ullathorne

Thenjiwe first burst into the comedy scene in 2013, beginning her career in London before returning home to South Africa where they call her the First Lady of Comedy. In Africa she has toured her one-woman shows in Eswatini, Tanzania, Botswana, Lesotho and other African countries including Nigeria where she performed at the prestigious AY comedy show in front of 8000 people. She is due to perform at this year’s Johannesburg International Comedy Festival. She has five comedy specials under her belt - Laughter is the Best Medicine, Born again African, Hurricane Thenjiwe, From KwaMashu to the World and Thenjiwe Live in London.

The lawyer turned comedian has become one of the most highly recognised and popular South African stand ups on the road and performs in both English and her native tongue Zulu.

She has performed to audiences all around the world and was one of the four comedians chosen to perform in Australia at the South African All Star Comedy Tour in 2019. She has performed at the Magners International Comedy Festival in Thailand, Vietnam and The Philippines in 2018 and in various European countries including Greece, France, Belgium and Germany and North America.

In South Africa, Thenjiwe has two popular sitcoms that she writes, produces and stars in; Meet the Khambules and Judge Thenjiwe; a court-based sitcom where she plays the judge and which has earned her the nickname of Africa’s Judge Judy. She has also acted in South Africa’s most popular soaps and telenovelas Imbewu, The Road, Harvest and many more, and has also made her name on the big screen on both local and international movies such as 10 Days in Sun City, Accidental Spy, Uncovered (all on Netflix) and various Mzansi Magic Movies. She is also a content creator with over 40 million views on her YouTube channel.

Thenjiwe is a philanthropist and her work includes being a member of Great Impact, an organisation of Black South Africans professionals who raise funds to sponsor children’s education and build homes for homeless families from marginalised backgrounds. In 2022 Thenjiwe was awarded an honorary Doctorate degree by Holly Nation Bible School for her outstanding community work, earning her the title of Dr Thenjiwe.

She is an ambassador for Southern Africa Embrace, a charity based in Canada that advocates for children and women in Southern African countries. She has spoken at the United Nations and at Women Lead Forum, which represents women from marginalised backgrounds, and she currently leads a project that works with widows from Da es Salaam helping them to use their domestic skills and start businesses.


🌟REVIEW - Thenjiwe: The Mandela Effect (Comedy, Stand-up, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023)🌟

🎟️ Disclosure: I am an Edinburgh Festival Fringe accredited media reviewer and as such I receive complimentary press tickets in exchange for my honest reviews. My reviews and star ratings are always my honest opinions.

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💗 To see more pictures and watch my videos follow @Lisa_InTheTheatre on Instagram

Lisa in the theatre, Scottish Theatre blog, comedy reviews


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