SA children’s puppet show celebrates LGBTQ inclusion

Drizzles’s colourful characters, including Zinzi the gay zebra, will affirm LGBTQ inclusion

Drizzles is a new online children’s theatre experience presented in multiple languages and is said to be one of the first in South Africa to include an LGBTQ character.

The ongoing series of shows will consist of “educational stories for your kids to learn and have fun with at home,” and will be hosted by SABC 1’s YOTV presenter, Diolan Govender.

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions, the producers have chosen to stream Drizzles online. This will not only help parents entertain their young children while stuck at home but will also help support South Africa talent during the crisis.

“A drizzle lives and plays in the clouds,” says creator, producer and director Marco Du Plessis about the show. “They only come down to earth when it is raining. And when they come together they can make magic.”

Drizzles features a host of adorable animal characters, including Zinzi the Zebra. In the story, Zinzi has her stripes stolen by Toni the Tiger because she is different.

When Zinzi tells the Fairy that she is gay, the Fairy sets her off on an adventure in which Zinzi and Toni learn that they both have stripes. Although some are different they also have stripes that are the same. Toni then learns that just because Zinzi is different does not mean that he can steal her stripes.

“Our main focus is to be the first children’s show in South Africa to have an LGBTQ character represented,” du Plessis told MambaOnline. “We are also one of the first shows that have a variety of characters that represent children left out by mainstream shows.”

He notes that children’s entertainment and edutainment is sorely lacking in LGBTQ inclusion. “Is it not time that our children see themselves on screen? The suicide rate of young LGBTQ kids is shocking,” du Plessis says.

“They feel alone and rejected. Can you imagine how different it might be if they remember seeing Zinzi onscreen when they were younger? I am not saying we can stop suicide, but I am saying we can help those kids feel included.”

The show will be initially filmed in English, Afrikaans and Zulu, with the aim of adding more official languages in future editions.

Drizzles will be launched on 21 August through The Talent Theatre, but will then be hosted on its own website where viewers can stream new stories for a monthly subscription fee.

“Do you know what the best part is of a drizzle?” asks Du Plessis. “The rainbow that comes after…”

To buy tickets to the first Drizzles show, click here. You can also follow Drizzles on Facebook and Instagram.

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