Guramatunhu drives emancipation through jokes

By Kennedy Nyavaya

Comedy is a great tool to hold difficult conversations with people about the things that are askew in society, rising comedian Munyaradzi Guramatunhu has said.

Guramatunhu, who seems to take the saying that “there is a grain of truth in every joke” with the seriousness it deserves, has become one of the few women that continue to emerge in the comic sector once largely occupied by men.

In a recent interview with Standard Style, the 25-year-old jester, who detailed personal accounts of gender injustice, said jokes on stage as well as in skits are sometimes genuine comments on how women are largely treated in society.

“Whatever I want to say, I put it in the art, so you’ll hear it when you come to the shows, or see it when you watch the work, even in the comedy, where we can laugh about the pain as we work through it and we can laugh at the absurdity of what’s wrong,” she said.

But, it is not so easy for the bubbly character who insists that even after constantly proving their worth in the arts particularly or other sectors in general, women are judged harshly.

“I do not think that the reason we are not in the industry in great numbers is because we lack the confidence. It’s because we do not get afforded the same grace to just be viewed as humans as the men are,” she said.

“We constantly have to decide between being ourselves and potentially losing the job and presenting ourselves as a more palatable being. You exhaust yourself working at that plus the actual job for the sake of personal safety sometimes, that with all the unnecessary little sexual micro-aggressions that happen. Men don’t have to make that choice.”

On set, the aspiring speech pathologist, currently studying Chinese and Linguistics at the University of Zimbabwe, has gained acclaim for wittily sketching the different characteristics of women in positions of power.

“It (parody skits) is important so that we give women the space to be the good leaders they can be by somehow humanising them through the art because most times women do not get a chance to just be humans, so by cracking a joke about them you get to amplify their message and personality,” she said.

After making her way into comedy circles through a HIFA initiative by veteran comedian Carl Joshua Ncube in 2018, she has continued under the persistent encouragement of award-winning humour mentor and Simuka Comedy founder Doc Vikela.

Currently, she’s working on sharpening her skills as an actress, director, producer, and writer in both film and theatre.

However, Guramatunhu could not be drawn into divulging what personal achievements she aspires for, but pledged to invest her energy towards the development of the arts sector.

“At the moment I am at the start of everything and would love to work towards elevating everything to help the industry commercialise so we do not have to live through donations,” she said.

“It is going to take a while, but we will need to reinvest into it until we succeed”.

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