The List: 5 times South African celebrities went into politics

Politicians are highly visible and famous in their own right. But entertainers and sportspeople are the original celebrities. The political landscape in South Africa has often seen celebs visibly supporting political parties. The Daily Vox takes a look at five times celebrities crossed over into politicking. 

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Peter de Villiers and the Good Party 

Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers was announced as the Good Party’s mayoral candidate for the Drakenstein municipality. He said rugby was part of his decision to enter the political arena. He had been waiting to hear about the future of his career in the Eastern Cape Rugby Union. With no word from the union as yet, he decided to swap boots for ballots. 

“Something else has come across my path recently and I accepted the opportunity. So, I’m done with rugby for now,” de Villiers told SA Rugby Mag. 

Good Party leader, Patricia de Lille, said de Villiers knows how to manage and motivate people into giving their best. De Villiers understands the cycle of poverty, and the difficulties people of colour face historically, de Lille said.  

Fana Mokoena and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)

Fana Mokoena is an actor known most-notably as his character Dr Mandla Sithole on local soapie; Generations. He joined the EFF in 2013, rose through the ranks fast and served as a member of parliament (MP) between 2016 and 2020. Mokoena resigned as an MP in 2020 but is still a member of the EFF. 

After nearly a decade off-screen Mokoena has found his way back on screen in etv soapie, Scandal.  Mokoena told TshisaLive recently he is not a politician per se, but has always been an activist. He said of his time as an MP he wasn’t accepted immediately, but was grateful for what it taught him. 

Floyd Shivambu, infamously and unintentionally roasted Mokoena in a parliamentary meeting in 2016. Shivambu’s comment came after the South African Broadcasting Corporation presented its state of affairs. 

“This is not Generations; acting CEO, acting COO, acting this and that. All these actors must fall,” Shivambu said. 

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Ringo Madlingozi and the EFF 

Ringo Madlingozi is a singer, songwriter, producer and became an EFF MP in 2019. EFF National Chairperson Dali Mpofu defended Madlingozi’s swearing in, after mocking reactions. 

Madlingozi has said he was always a revolutionary thinker, and his music reflected that.

He said it is not common to see an artist or celebrity affiliated with an opposition party. Mandlingozi said the EFF is a political party he feels comfortable with, and admires their fearlessness. 

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Alistair Izobell and the Good Party 

An icon in the Cape Town music scene, Alistair Izobell joined the Good Party in 2019. Izobell said he would be serving the arts community in a different way. He said he was an activist when entertaining, and always made sure voices were heard. 

“This is a natural development in my career,” Izobell told the Weekend Arigus. .

Johnathan Rubain and the Patriotic Alliance (PA)

Musician Johnathan Rubain joined the PA earlier this year as one of its leaders in Cape Town. Rubain is a well-known gospel singer from the Cape Flats

The PA was formed in 2013 by controversial businessmen, Kenny Kunene and Gayton McKenzie. McKenzie said the party would transform the lives of the previously disadvantaged in the Western Cape and elsewhere.

Rubain said he joined the  PA because they have “godly principles”. He will be recruiting new members, and raising the party’s profile in Cape Town. 

American celebrities have crossed over into politics on multiple occasions. The current prime minister of Pakistan, Imraan Khan was a former national cricket captain.

Swapping the screens and sports fields for parliament floors just gives them a new arena for them to perform on.

Feature image via Flickr