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Lack of teeth inspires actor

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COMEDIAN Tinashe Mapoka, who lost his front teeth while still a child decided to use his “disability” to his advantage by venturing into comedy and has since produced a number of social media skits that are fast gaining traction.

BY GUMISAI NYONI

Mapoka told NewsDay Life & Style that he used sarcasm and irony to explore the difficulties encountered by many people who migrate from rural to urban areas in search of employment in a struggling economy.

“I discovered that what I thought didn’t matter in life cost me a lot of opportunities. Having no front teeth was an eye-opener for me; hence my acting probes issues surrounding ‘disability’ and how people living with disabilities are treated and perceived in their communities,” he said.

“For instance, when I applied for jobs, it would look like I would be acting comedy in interviews, with some interviewers focusing entirely on my looks than my responses to their questions.”

Mapoka said even establishing relationships with the opposite sex was a problem.

“I am still finding it difficult to establish a steady relationship, with most ladies I approach poking fun at me, telling me to first get my lost teeth replaced,” he said.

In one of his projects titled Special Interview, Mapoka, reflects on how sitting for examinations more than once to acquire the required qualifications was not a sign of weakness or lack of intelligence, but a depiction of dedication and hard work.

In the skit, the comedian, who is requested to produce his ordinary level qualifications, does so by providing the interviewee with six different certificates, each with one subject passed per sitting.

“It is a motivation to those who may feel are less important in society after failing to attain brilliant results in one examination sitting. Their resilience and determination matters most. It is an attribute that employers must consider as virtuous, since it is a reflection of hard work,” he said.

Mapoka, who is the scriptwriter and main character in his skits, said he was shooting several projects that include Window Shopping and Vision, which he hoped would turn him into a household name.

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