Peter Hain’s documentary begins at Marikana, the site of last year’s horrendous massacre in which 34 miners lost their lives. But Hain ranges far and wide in search of answers, finding some good cheer – sport, for example seems strikingly unified – but much more misery. As usual, the problems are, at their root, economic – the free market struggles to generate a living wage or any real choices for manual workers, while the unions are apparently in bed with the governing party.
Throw in corruption, the increased stifling of press freedom and the kind of race-dictated poverty that was assumed to be a thing of the past and an ugly picture emerges. Still, in historical terms, 20 years is a drop in the ocean; Hain’s natural optimism just about survives this dose of reality. But one senses it’s a close run thing.
Mister Lasagna Rupert Street
There are no prizes for guessing what’s on the menu at Mister Lasagna, but there’s a gold star up for grabs if you can guess how many varieties of the carby classic its menu boasts. Five? Ten? Not even close. Try 21. Although, disappointingly, they only offer a rotating selection each day. Still, a lack of choice is not an issue here. You can eat-in or takeaway, opt for extra sauce, and choose between three portion sizes: half-sized (£3.50), full-sized (£5.90), or a trio of half-sized portions (£7.80) for those struggling with food-based FOMO. Unfortunately, quantity doesn’t equate to quality. The vast selection is laid out on the countertop, but the portions are nuked in the microwave and served on unappealing polystyrene plates. Each dish features the same bland béchamel sauce, while the pasta is somehow both overdone and underdone – soggy yet lacking that enticing crispy top layer. The best of the bunch was a truffle, mushroom and sausage combination, saved by generous amounts of truffle oil, while the pesto lasagne was gloopy and lacking in flavour. Sadly, this is definitely not like mama used to make.
Venue says: “With half a lasagna and sauce of your choice for only £3.50, why not add a glass of wine (£5) or beer (£3.50) to your meal? Treat yourself!”