Comedy in Zimbabwe has seen a fast rise in the past few years with am emergency of a lot of comedians into the creative space. Most might not be privileged to get a booking for stand up but social media has given everyone the opportunity to join the bandwagon and have a go. We decide to take a section of the comedy space, the satirical part, and dissect it with the help of one of the main anchor of the narrative, Magamba TV project officer King Kandoro. We had questions, they were answered.
Has your comedy angle always been satire, or it’s something you found along the way and ran with it?
My comedy has always been satirical and observational storytelling in nature, back when I started I didn’t call myself a satirist because I didn’t really know what that word meant but I realise now that that’s what it always was because I promised myself that I would always do ‘meaningful comedy.’
Meaningful is a good way of putting it definitely. Can you tell our readers about the Magamba family, how did you start working with them?
I joined Magamba Network as a Magamba TV intern in March 2017. I was involved primarily with their script writing and social media management and now i am the Magamba TV project officer which is a much broader role and effectively means I handle the day to day activities of Magamba TV and it has been one hell of an experience so far. I’ve learnt a lot as a comedian and as a team member.
Satire has evolved a lot, from the cartoonists back in the day to the millenials using it on social media and TV to spark meaningful debate and dialogue. What’s the next step for satire and satirists in the next 10 years or so?
I wouldn’t say ‘satire has evolved’ I think satire has always been this wonderful weapon for good but only a few people knew of its power, as the years have passed many people are coming to terms with its effectiveness and impact in initiating very difficult conversations and essentially effecting change. I believe that in the years to come we are going to see an increase in satirists as more young people, especially in Africa, become more aware of satire and its place in society.
Molly Ivins said, and I quote: “Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.” Is this weapon strong enough to flip the table and leverage us some of that power?
Indeed it is! Prior to the 2018 Zimbabwean elections, available statistics revealed that there was huge voter apathy amongst people between the ages of 18 – 35. Civic society took it upon itself to encourage and get as many young people to register to vote for the 2018 elections and one of the methods they employed to do this were the creation and sharing of voter registration information through satirical productions. The result was that a good 60% of 5 million registered voters belonged to people that were between the ages of 18-35. This was a big win for young people but it also showed the importance of satire when it is harnessed for good.
Do you have a checklist of your satirical content, one that makes sure you don’t stray further from the narrative towards fake news?
I don’t have a checklist per se but it’s more of a moral compass. I don’t have an interest in focusing on people’s personalities or what they do in their free time or their families, we focus on the issues. That’s what guides me.
Speaking of fake news, where do we draw the line between satire and fake news?
Satire seeks the truth, it questions, interrogates and employs several methods but its objective at the end of the day is to highlight the truth and create a conversation and change around that truth. Fake news is the exact opposite of that.
Freedom of speech and after speech, are we seeing an end of those now in Zim comedy?
It’s definitely a difficult time that we find ourselves in. Things are going terribly wrong and the powers that be, want to cast aspersions wherever they can. But satire in Zimbabwe did not exist because the powers that be allowed it to exist, it existed and grew largely as a form of protest. If anything the current situation reiterates the need for more satirists.
I noticed most of your content lately is political/economic inspired satire and bits of pieces from societal experiences. Would you say you want your act to be more political or is it simple because our political space is a gift that keeps on giving? Or do you equally love doing both – the societal and the political/ economic themed comedy?
My comedy has always been inspired by my lived experiences, that means society, economy, and politics. Even when you watch my earlier skits and the stand up there’s a lot of political stuff. The difference is in the confidence, I definitely believe in my opinions much more now therefore you’ll find me mentioning specific individuals with impunity.
Coming back to your content, who is your target market?
Young people between the ages of 18 – 35, Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans in the diaspora.
As far as comedy goes, what’s the greatest fear you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today?
LOL, the fear of abduction.
I have to ask the cliche, your most memorable content?
Hmm, this is a very difficult question. The skit where we predicted ZEC announcing the presidential results is one of my favourites though, because that’s pretty much what ZEC did.
In conclusion, we wanna know: will we ever see the return of CDE Dambura?
Oh, sooner than you think.