Benny Bushwhacker embarks on national tour

Ben Voss as Benny Bushwhacker
Ben Voss as Benny Bushwhacker

Benny Bushwhacker, aka Ben Voss, continues his national tour, opening at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban on 29 July for a short season. The Republic of South Africa proudly welcomes home Benny Bushwhacker (aka Ben Voss), the world’s funniest conservationist. The legend returns to share what it takes to survive the African bush … and for the African bush to survive.

The genial South African, who recently trended worldwide for banging heads with swashbuckling British survivalist Bear Grylls, will be touring South Africa’s theatres and festivals with a hilarious yet sobering look at the collision between man and environment.

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Fresh from the success of the National Arts Festival Makhanda in Grahamstown where Ben Voss won two Standard Bank Ovation Awards, Benny Bushwhacker is soon to continue on his national tour, opening at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban on 29 July for a short season.

For somebody who has spent more time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life than a hibernating Arctic wood frog, Benny Bushwhacker brings untainted humanity and delicious humour to his performance that will have you laughing out loud and wondering why, when it comes to the bush, the most uncommon human trait is common sense.

Whether it be his opinion on how to spot a know-it-all in Kruger, or the relative chances of his estranged wife, Brenda, replacing the buffalo in the Big 5, Benny delivers time and again with his unique sense of humour and classic bush logic.

While touring South Africa, Benny Bushwhacker will be raising awareness and moola for the Lebombo Leopard – Human Conflict Survey. And while leopards are not known to change their spots, through this initiative, Benny will try to help humans to do so.

Benny Bushwhacker’s stories and experiences have been translated from bush to page by his unofficial biographer, John van de Ruit, (of Spud fame,) and from page to stage by the lioness of theatre, Janice Honeyman.

When asked about the project, Janice Honeyman said: “I have worked with Ben before and have always enjoyed it. He’s a good actor and a thinking actor. His Mamba series impressed me, so I chose to direct his alter ego Beauty Ramapelepele. Ben then worked with me on the Snow-White Pantomime as Evil Queen Hildagonda in which he was fantastic. The opportunity to work with him again as Benny Bushwhacker is great fun. The concerns of the content are very close to my heart and putting it into a less didactic, preachy context feels good for me.”

The writer of the piece, John van de Ruit, expressed his involvement thus. “Ben and I have been friends and collaborators for over twenty years. In that time, I have had the best seat in the house to witness his talent and versatility as a comedic actor. He has the unique ability to capture reality and extremity, often simultaneously, with hilarious consequences. It does help that he was born with a rubber face, a razor-sharp mind and the body of Frankenstein. This made him the perfect fit for Benny Bushwhacker, a celebrity conservationist with a big heart and little education to speak of.”

Van de Ruit continues; “Historically, Ben Voss and I have collaborated on both scripting and performance, but this time we have made a deliberate decision to separate ourselves into writer and actor. This means I won’t steal Benny’s favourite lines on stage, and he won’t tamper with my favourite lines in the script. I think that’s called collaborative uncoupling. It’s been a terrific time developing the idea of Benny Bushwhacker with Ben Voss, although of late it’s been rather difficult to tell the pair apart.”

Book your seats soon for this wonderful look at life on the wild side, because, as the rhinos of Africa, you never know if you will get the chance to see it again.

Check out for general info or to click through on booking links to the various venues around the country.

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National Tour Dates of Benny Bushwhacker:

  • Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, Durban, 29 July – 11 Aug
  • McGregor Poetry Festival, 24 Aug
  • Hilton Arts Festival, 13 – 15 Sep
  • The George Arts Theatre, 20 Sep – 21 Sep
  • The Studio Stage at Montecasino, Johannesburg, 3 – 20 Oct
  • The Savoy Theatre, Port Elizabeth, 22 – 26 Oct
  • Hexagon Theatre, Pietermaritzburg, 4 Nov – 9 Nov
  • Atterbury Theatre, Pretoria, 13 Nov
  • Somerset West Playhouse, 15 – 16 Nov
  • Baxter Theatre, Cape Town, 9 Dec – 18 Jan 2020

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