06 April 2016 – SA BASED, Zimbabwean stand-up comedian George Kudakwashe Rusike aka George Kuda, is slowly trying to create a niche in the country’s competitive showbiz market.
The 28 year old, who was born in Mashonaland East’s Marondera, has already performed with all big name SA comedians that include the now US based Trevor Noah and has had shows in each and every one of SA’s nine provinces except the Northern Cape. He has also performed in the southern African region countries like Botswana and Swaziland, not forgetting his homeland.
But despite this Kuda remains humble about his achievements. “Although I am a regular on the club circuit I would personally say I am still much in obscurity,” says Kuda who took to stand-up comedy as a way to express himself since he says couldn’t sing.
“Just like any other art form I realised comedy is a way to express your views, ideals and whatever agendas one might want to contribute to the world by captivating people’s attention through making them laugh because I couldn’t sing,” says Kuda who started his career in high school at Seke No 3 High School.
Kuda, his other main source of inspiration, was his mother, former trade unionist and social activist, Nora Tapiwa by her outspokenness.
Kuda, who continuously cracks jokes throughout conversations says he only started considering comedy as a profession when he moved to SA.
“However I started to see it (Comedy) as a career it was in 2007 here in South Africa when I learn’t stand up comedy can be a sole standing art form and professional choice.”
On the challenges of being a budding artist , black and a non South African, Kuda admits like most successful migrants, has being quite challenging.
“It is just like any other career or professional work…its being a migrant to go into details will be like writing a paper for the United Nations on migrant issues. lol..”
But despite his numerous performance Kuda says he still who feels that he has a long way to go and has not reached the peak of his career yet.
“I haven’t reached my highest yet. But I can say that the lowest point of career and life was my mother passed on before I could have done my own solo show because she had only seen me once onstage professionally,” says Kuda who is clearly very close to the late activist, who was involved in many programs to help Zimbabweans living in SA.
Kuda says he has admires a lot of comedians but his some of his favourites are Lenny Bruce. “This is because being funny in a conservative time got him killed. George Carlin because in his words “he was a performer who wrote his own material until he became a writer who performed his own material” and its evident in his work.”
“Another one of my favourites is Lewis Black because he his unapologetic about what he thinks is and I think SA’s Roni Modimola, is the best jokes writer I have ever met.”
However Kuda laments the lack of awareness by Zimbabweans of stand up comedy. “Although there is a massive presence e.g. Baba Tigere, Vharazipi, Kapfupi etc its in stand up where we are behind countries like SA .”
“Zimbabweans are generally aware of art in its variations through theater, television shows, movies and music but they a little behind on stand up. It’s a culture which they are awakening to just recently through the rise of Trevor Noah.”
So where does Kuda, see himself in the next five years?
“Five years?” he asks. “ I see myself just before I die asking myself whether they actually understood what I was trying to say or they just kept on listening hoping that I was gonna make them laugh.” – Patience Rusere