The Whiffenpoofs – or ‘Whiffs’, as they call themselves – have performed for almost every American president since the 1900s, and appeared on TV shows ranging from The West Wing to Saturday Night Live. But during their visit to Cape Town this week, they added a new first: singing with the parliamentary leader of a country’s opposition party. At a performance on Monday for ‘Blue, the network’ (the DA’s social network), Lindiwe Mazibuko performed a guest solo with the Whiffenpoofs to the Mika pop song ‘Grace Kelly’. It was by all accounts rather good: Mazibuko at one stage pursued a Bachelor of Music, after all.
Tenor Brandon Levin, speaking to the Daily Maverick before a performance on Wednesday, sang Mazibuko’s praises. “She was fantastic, a real trouper. She couldn’t have been nicer, she was a pleasure to work with.”
The Whiffenpoofs were, on Wednesday, 87 days into a 27-country tour. That’s got to mean some strain, and one of their 14 members, Julian de Freitas, had taken ill and was unable to perform. De Freitas is unusual among their number because he is South African: “He’s from Woodbank,” Levin explained in De Freitas’ absence. (He meant Witbank.)