Zimbabwe’s most celebrated stand-up comedian, Carl Joshua Ncube has been nominated for South Africa’s largest Comedy Awards, the Savanna Pan African Comic of the Year Award which will be held at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg on September 8.
Ncube was nominated alongside four other comedians, Bright ‘Basketmouth’ Okpocha from Nigeria and Ugandans Patrick ‘Salvado’ Idringi and Kansiime Kubiryaba Anne and Charles Manase from Botswana.
It is only the second time in the history of the eight-year-old annual awards that they have featured comedians from outside South Africa.
In a press release issued Friday, Kwazi Ngubane, the event publicist, said the five nominees, some of the best in the continent, were announced at a press lunch in Johannesburg, South Africa on 11 July to media, industry and comedy supporters.
“It has always been the vision of The Annual South African Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards to go beyond South Africa and open the borders of the local industry to the comedy family across the continent. There may be many languages spoken in Africa, but it is the language of humour that connects us all,” he said.
The five nominees will be flown to Johannesburg, South Africa for the awards ceremony by Savanna.
Ngubane said there has been a significant increase in the number of registrations this year, from 29 in 2017 to 54 comedians from countries such as Ghana Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Angola and Lesotho among others.
Basketmouth was the first-ever recipient of the Savanna Pan-African Comic of the Year Award in 2017. A leading player in the comedy industry in Nigeria and having represented the stand-up comedy genre as one of Nigeria and Africa’s leading exports, Basketmouth has over the years won hearts of comedy fans around the globe He has hosted concerts featuring Jay Z, Rihanna, Beyonce, Joe, Chris Brown, Boyz II Men, Sean Paul, Wyclef Jean, Cool and the Gang, Akon, Dru Hill, Buster Rhymes, Fat Joe, Snoop Dogg, Ciara, Jarule, Brian McKnight and many more.
Basketmouth has headlined shows all over Africa and the world and in 2013 he was approached by Comedy Central to do his own special. In 2014 he was invited to be a part of Just for Laughs, one of the biggest comedy festivals in the world.
Carl Joshua Ncube (Zimbabwe)
According to Comedy Central Africa, “Carl Joshua Ncube has to be the funniest comedian Zimbabwe’s ever produced”. This was after being featured on an all-star line-up at the Comedy Central International Comedy Festival Best of Africa in South Africa, where he joined an ensemble cast of some of the best comedians in Africa. The festival also featured comedians like Jeff Ross, Hannibal Buress and Aries Spear.
Carl was nominated for Savanna Pan-Africa Comic of the Year Award at the 2017. He is currently a 2017 Ted Fellow, having done a TED talks at the TED Global “Confessions of a Stand-up Comedian”. Carl has truly been “the new face of Zimbabwean comedy,” according CNN’s African Voices.
Kansiime Anne Entertainer (Uganda)
Kansiime Kubiryaba Anne, popularly known as Kansiime Anne Entertainer, is a Ugandan entertainer, comedian and actress. She has been referred to as “Africa’s Queen of Comedy” by some African media outlets and has won awards at home for both her comedy and acting. Kansiime is the first female African comedian to be nominated for the Savanna Pan-Africa Comic of the Year Award.
Salvado (Patrick Idringi) is an engineer, comedian, actor and former radio presenter on the number one radio station in Uganda. He realised his comedy talent in 2009 after coming second in an M-Net reality TV series dubbed Stand-up Uganda. Salvado is the co-founder and director of The Crackers, a stand-up comedy outfit that has weekly shows in Kampala and has become the best group in town boasting weekly sold-out shows.
Charles’ career as a stand-up comedian got its first major boost when he was one of seven comedians to perform in Bulawayo as a part of the Go Worries Go Comedy Tour. He took part in the Baisly Comedy Show Night of Fools, Politics of Laughter, two seasons of the Soul Food Comedy Contest (all in 2014) and headlined the 2014 Anne Kansime show in Botswana, leaving the audiences in stitches. Before that, he had auditioned for the Talent Search programme called Gemstones, which was sponsored by International Modelling and Talent Agency (IMTA) as the only comedy entry, only bowing out in the national stage. He later went on to perform under the Laugh-a-Lot platform where he shaped his unique brand of comedy.
Charles Manase, The Brand, remains relevant today more than ever as the man features as the voice of the Grand-Pa’s Bumper to Bumper traffic update in Botswana and is played during every traffic update on radio. Having played a role in the establishment of the Phakalane Comedy Show, he went on to establish The Fresh Comedy Series and with high-ticket items like a one-man show and a comedy tour still in the pipeline, The Brand will surely continue to grow.