Conrad Koch's puppet Chester Missing honoured

By Drum Digital
29 November 2014

Condrad Kotch, the seasoned ventriloquist and the voice behind the controversial puppet, Chester Missing is quick to admit that telling jokes is not always funny.

The ventriloquist received special honours at the Ahmed Kathrada 5th Annual lecture at Sci-Bono, on Friday night, for his public stance against racism.

Chester Missing who has more than 150 000 twitter followers sparked a debate on social media when he called out Afrikaans musician Steve Hofmeyr as a racist for a tweet in which he said black people are the “architects of apartheid.”

Hofmyr’s attempts to put a permanent gag order on Chester Missing by taking him to the Randburg Magistrate’s court, which proved unsuccessful.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation founded by the liberation struggle stalwart is known for hosting robust public debates which advocate for non-racialism in South Africa.

The key note address at the lecture was given by Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, in which he described gender and social inequality as causing a racial divide amongst South Africans.

“Many of our people are still living in poverty and experience inequality, we are concerned about reports that show that the level of mistrust between black and white is deteriorating,” he said.

Songezo Zibi, Editor of Business Day newspaper, responded to Rhamaphosa, by suggesting that the racial narrative is something that is entrenched into ordinary South African’s psyche.

A modest Kotch described himself as a middle-class white South African, undeserving of award.

“I am a comedian, there are more deserving people in society like Axolile Notywala of the Social Justice Coalition who should be receiving this award,” he said.

Notywala is a social activist who has challenged government on many issues such as police violence and bucket system toilets.

“As long as there are still people pooing in buckets, that is an indication that there is structural racism,” said Kotch.

Kotch acknowledged that it was a great honour for him to receive the ward, although he was fighting nerves to perform in front the Rhamaphosa and Kathrada.

“I’ve never performed at such an esteemed event. It felt almost dangerous as a middle-class white man to stand here and mock members of the liberation movement,” he said.

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