Just like comedies are often the most popular movies, humourous comedy can leave the greatest impact on viewers. But for Pepukai Zvemhari, a South African-based-Zimbabwean online comedian, comedy is his remedy.
By Simbarashe Manhango
Virtually unknown in the comedy realm six years ago, Zvemhari has grown a steadfast love for creating humourous content that people actively seek out and are always left wanting more.
He is popularly known as Baba Tencen, mostly by online communities that engage with his Kuripwa Kugara video clips.
He just can’t live without comedy, a passion that drives him to wake up every day in the morning and explore more on how he can apply his daily experiences to convey a message to comedy buffs.
He is seriously into it and he knows how comedy enables him to pay his bills.
According to Zvemhari, online comedy has been working better than everything he has tried in his life.
That is the reason why he had to forgo another menial job that he once focused on during a phase in his life when he was trying to discover what he would really pursue.
“I do comedy full-time. It is like a therapy for me. It may not be paying as well as I wish it would, but, it is better than everything else I have been doing,” he said.
“I realised that things were not working out for me and I decided to focus on doing what I enjoy doing.”
Baba Tencen has embraced opportunities that make people laugh.
“I am exploring other ways of content creation. I also have collaborations in the pipeline and my advantage is that I also speak other languages like Tsonga/Shangaan on top of Shona and English. So, this just gives me the flexibility to create more comic videos and content that different societal varieties can feed on,” he said.
Baba Tencen concedes that the life-changing moment in his career came in January after his team embraced online platforms to distribute his content.
“For starters, we created a Facebook page on January 14, and within a month we had 20 000 likes. This amplified my reach and enabled me to distribute my content far and wide, unlike when it was only on WhatsApp. I also have a YouTube channel, Twitter and Instagram accounts to cater for different categories of content consumers,” he said.
“I am not hoping to achieve anything through my comedy, but it is all about me and doing what I enjoy and love doing,” he said.
He said he was not aware of any other guys pursuing the same trade and said the only time he heard about P O Box TV — another duo doing online comedy — was when he was talking with his manager about a possible joint project.
“I haven’t watched P O Box TV, but I only heard about them when my manager told me about a possible collaboration. I am hoping to collaborate more often because I hear they are also good,” he said.
Baba Tencen expressed gratitude over the support he is getting from Zimbabweans based in South Africa.
“Zimbabweans have supported me and I have been able to reach far and wide,” he said.
“My art is growing at a very fast rate and I intend to venture into different entrepreneurial activities to support my comedy and brand.”
He is set to make his debut European tour this year.