Respected Ugandan comic Anne Kansiime, widely viewed as the Queen of African comedy, has urged local comedians to do away with political content in their work to appeal to bigger audiences.
BY Kennedy Nyavaya
Kansiime, who is famed for short hilarious skits that have propelled her career to great heights, is in the country after she performed last night at the Harare International Conference Centre.
Responding to questions at a press conference on Friday, Kansiime said the reason why she never taps into political topics in her work is a “deliberate way to appeal to anyone” within standard community settings.
“I do not think by show of hands most of us here are interested in politics, so for you to appeal to a bigger crowd, you appeal to the things that apply to almost everyone,” she said.
While most local comedians have jostled to make fun of politicians’ uncouth conduct, the Ugandan suggested that they touch on general issues that affect everyone regardless of political affiliations.
“It is easy to make people laugh if you do not make them sit and scratch about the things that you are talking about because social problems apply to everyone,” she said.
“Whatever profession it is you are in, you know that you want to get back home and deal with the society within your reach so if you want to touch so many people you have to look for a subject that touches everyone.
“What I mean is, I am an entertainer and nothing else. The moment you try to make me something else, we are not friends.”
This is despite the fact that the Ugandan artist is from a country with a political environment similar to Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Baba Tencen of the “Kuripwa Kugara” fame also concurred saying:
“Like I said before, some us are not politicians or anything but comedians who make people laugh in times of pain or happiness.
“Tomorrow [yesterday] is just different; even what we have organised is fit for the stage. We just want people to be happy because we know there are problems in the country but when we say comedy night, it is for people to forget a bit.”
On whether he can manage a full length show which is a bit tougher than short skits, the South African-based entertainer said he had been doing similar shows lately.
“I usually do shows in South Africa every week even at the Zimbabwe Embassy and most times at even bigger venues with a hugely foreign audience, but this side I have free length since people also relate to the language,” he said.
He also dismissed rising speculation on whether he will survive the cut-throat industry with his trade or if he will fall on the Uncle Richie short time wonder category, saying his unique art would soar through.
“The reason why we do not make it big in Zimbabwe is because we copy each other. People should not try to be like someone but rather do something different and all will work out well,” said Baba Tencen.