Jesters reflect on Umahlekisa’s journey

BY SINDISO DUBE

Bulawayo-based comedians have described the six-year existence of Bulawayo’s sole comedy club, Umahlekisa, as a journey of growth in artistry.

The comedy club was established by Ntandoyenkosi Van Moyo in 2013, with a mission to grow comedy as a credible entertainment discipline.

The club started off with performances in bars and restaurants, before moving to several other spots dotted around the city.

“The club was formed upon realisation of a need for spaces for comedy as well to create competition among local comedians, and it’s been full of ups and downs.
We have grown in terms of quality of acts and performance spaces. The biggest challenge has been to remain viable under the current economic circumstances, but we have managed to be consistent and find means to survive,” Moyo said.

Over the last six years, the jest master noted, they had introduced various comedy styles to audiences, including pub and township comedy shows.

“The biggest highlight was when festivals started engaging us to curate events for them. People should expect more online content. We are also angling on an online comedy channel that will provide local comedy content,” he said.

Meanwhile, comedienne Miss Dee said she owed her career in comedy to the club, as it has given her the platform to showcase her talent.

“When I joined Umahlekisa, there was HO, Zwexy, Marshal, Keith Nkosi and as you know, you cannot talk about Umahlekisa without the mention of Ntando Van Moyo,” she said, adding that the club had been responsible for grooming some of Bulawayo’s many comedians.

Ckhanyiso That Guy, another jest master who joined the club at a later stage, described the journey as a “scary ride”.

“I only joined the club during its fourth year, but all the hard work we do there has changed the face of entertainment and comedy. My biggest highlight is maintaining the shows on the last Friday of every month for almost six years,” Ckhanyiso That Guy said.

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