How Cont gave birth to Clive

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Chigubu was born and raised in Barbourfields and attended Mzilikazi High school which is a stone throw away from his home. Attending Mzilikazi High, one was bound to fall in love with either the arts or football.

By Sindiso Dube For Clive Chigubu, being born and bred in an area rich in arts and culture, there was no way his life was going to be acted on stages.

Chigubu was born and raised in Barbourfields and attended Mzilikazi High school which is a stone throw away from his home. Attending Mzilikazi High, one was bound to fall in love with either the arts or football.

If you failed to find love within the arts at Mzilikazi high, you would still stumble and fall in love with the arts at Amakhosi Theatre Centre which is close to Mzilikazi High.

Chigubu started acting while in high school when he formed the Jeepers Makers with classmate and friend Mayibongwe Sibanda in 2008.

Chigubu and Sibanda won an award the same year with their play What Happened at the Bus Stop at the Amakhosi Dream to Fame competition.

However Chigubu had to start afresh when Sibanda left for South Africa and that marked the beginning of his career as a stand-up comedian. His first performance was at Amakhosi Elite 400 after he was invited by Cont Mhlanga.

Chigubu was born 32 years ago and raised by a single mother. At Amakhosi he didn’t just find a home within the arts, but also found a “father” in Mhlanga.

“Clive came in at Amakhosi under the children’s programme called Dreams to Fame when he was very young,” Mhlanga said.

“We spotted him after he had formed a drama group with his friend and then we invited him to do training activities at Amakhosi.

“While at Amakhosi, he then hooked up with a very talented young artist by the name Tswarelo and that’s when we realised that he had a big potential for comedy.

“We then pulled him aside and told him that he needed to grow his name in stand-up comedy and he was not brave to do that. He was fragile and didn’t think he could make people laugh.”

As part of “making” Chigubu the comedian he became, Mhlanga, a known strict trainer, went on hard and tough on Chigubu.

“I remember making him stand in my office and looking at a white wall and saying you see that guy on the picture on the wall, you are not getting out of my office before you make that picture laugh,” Mhlanga said.

“And slowly he got his confidence in facing people and making them to laugh.”

Chigubu was then invited to perform at the Ibumba Arts Festival, marking the start of his professional career.

“When he got invited for Ibumba Arts festival, he walked into my office, very excited and said he wanted me to come watch him perform at Stanley Hall and judge if he had potential to take up comedy,” Mhlanga said.

“I went there, and he was brilliant on that stage. After the show he came to the office and I said to him you can make it and be a world star in comedy, it’s going to take time but you will make it.

“He then said I don’t think I know who I am on stage and I said we will invest and package you and make you the Clive Chigubu that is unique to everyone.

“That day we sent him to go shopping and wrote down the clothes that he needed to wear on stage.”

Chigubu was known for his signature chant Yeyee, which he used every time he cracked a joke.

“We went on to tell him that he needed a signature on stage and one day he came back to me and he goes Yeyee and that’s how the signature stuck and when we approached the signature, the costume, the hairstyle and how he should groom himself and that’s how Clive Chigubu, the comedian was born,” Mhlanga said.

“After one or three shows we then kicked him out of Amakhosi.We told him that we didn’t want to baby sit him anymore, the world had to take him in so that we also make space for new talent.  That’s how his career took off.”

In 2016, Mhlanga called time on his illustrious 36-year career in the arts industry, but as they say once an artist will always be an artist, he made a comeback in 2020 and set up KeYona TV structures, which he is still doing in preparation to go live.

“In 2020 when we were auditioning for the television presenters for KeYona TV, I then called him (Clive) and told him that he needed to be on TV to throw his brand worldwide and there was a comedy show that I needed him to be part of and I hoped that would take his career to the world,” Mhlanga said.

“He came to Amakhosi and was not looking good. He told me he was not well and then I said he needed to look after his health.

“Television was and is coming to Bulawayo and he needed to look good. He promised that he will look after his health.

“I didn’t see him since then, I was expecting him to come back till we heard that he is down sick and all of a sudden we heard Clive is gone. That was it, the end of a brilliant talent and career.”

Chigubu succumbed to cancer of the lymphatic system (Diffuse Large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

Chigubu was diagnosed with DLBCL last year. This is a non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) cancer type.

It develops when the body makes abnormal B lymphocytes.

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