BY PRECIOUS CHIDA
LOCAL stand-up comedian Learnmore Mwanyenyeka, popularly known as Long John, has scooped the Pan African Comic of the Year award at the Comic Choice Awards held at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The development comes a few months after the jest master won the Outstanding Comedian of the Year gong at the National Arts Merit Awards.
Speaking to Newsday Life & Style yesterday, Long John said he was grateful to his grandparent and fans who supported him even during the time when his jokes only had a few takers at the beginning of his career.
“I would like to thank my grandparents for always believing in me when it seemed impossible and I would also like to thank my fans for always supporting my comedy and laughing at my jokes even when they were not funny sometimes,” he said.
Long John shrugged off stiff competition from jest icons such as Anne Kansiime from Uganda, Busket
Mouth from Nigeria, United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean Alfred Kainga and Chinglz from Zambia, who were also vying for the title.
Long John described the recognition as significant as it will pave way for the entry of local comedians onto the African scene and beyond.
He said the development was also confirmation that local talent was rising.
“This year has been unbelievable for me. The impossible happened. I won and this is such a big thing in the comedy industry. This can open doors to the world for all the Zimbabwean comedians,” said the jest master who is among the country’s top 10 comedians.
“Being the first Zimbabwean comedian to win this award is such an honour because this is the biggest comedy award in Africa and it is proof that Zimbabwean comedy is a force to be reckoned with.”
The lanky comedian said he had been through a treacherous journey, starting off as a mere rural boy in Chimanimani but was now emerging as a global star after breaking into the South African comedy circuit. He has performed at prestigious events and venues including the Oppikkopi Festival, Park Acoustics, Mieliepop Festival and Jo’burg Theatre.
Also known as the Village Boy, the jest master has this year featured in Showmax original shows, Funny People Africa and The Last Laugh and represented Zimbabwe at big comedy festivals around Africa.
Having become one of the most sought-after local comedians in South Africa, Long John seems to be on track in his dream to take local comedy onto the global stage.