By Kennedy Nyavaya
Contrary to the expectation that organisers of the annual Shoko Festival would tone down on the witty showcase following the imminent clampdown on local jesters, organisers have promised a “unique celebration of comedy” at this year’s edition.
Scheduled for September 27 to 29, the annual fête–running under the theme Good Vibes Only–is expected to take place at the traditional venues, including Reps Theatre, Harare City
Library grounds and Unit L Community Hall grounds in Chitungwiza.
In an interview with Standard Style, festival director Samm “Cde Fatso” Monro said the Comedy Night to be held on the second day would encompass stand-up comedy, music and funny skits
among other surprises.
“We think Comedy Night is a super important event, which allows us to reach our audience and get them to laugh and think at the same time,” said Cde Fatso.
“Humour is a really important vehicle for communication and, of course, we will be laughing and joking about the realities in Zimbabwe today and we believe that that is our right, so we
encourage everyone to come through for a really massive comedy night.”
His sentiments come at a time when comedienne Samantha Kureya, popularly known as “Gonyeti”, was recently abducted and tortured by suspected state agents for her skits.
“Comedy really plays an important role in a country that lacks free expression, it gives us the ability to express ourselves and talk about socio-political and economic issues,” said
Cde Fatso, adding that the art serves as a stress reliever.
“It gives them [citizens] a time to relax and unwind, so I think comedy is really important and that’s why you see the growth of stand-up comedy in Zimbabwe and political satire despite
the crazy economic climate because there is such a big appetite for this stuff.”
The night that would be headlined by South African female comedienne Celeste Ntuli would feature local jokers King Kandoro, Doc Vikela, Magi and Q Dube, among others.
The festival, a production of Magamba Network, is the country’s most popular and longest-running urban culture fiesta that has over the years provided a platform for artistes across
genres, among them comedians, musicians and spoken word artistes, to perform at the same stage.