A comic sur­prise at Reps Theatre

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - ARTS - An­drew Moyo

AL­FRED Kainga’s re­cent show at Reps Theatre in Harare was proof of the ex­po­nen­tial growth of Zim­bab­wean com­edy. While just Q Dube and Long John were ad­ver­tised as sup­port­ing acts, the crowd was in for a sur­prise as an­other young, un­her­alded comic was in­vited to warm the stage.

Univer­sity of Zim­babwe stu­dent Ti­naye Wayne Chiketa(pic­tured right) did not squan­der the op­por­tu­nity to show­case his ta­lent. He stitched to­gether a solid set with won­der­ful twists and turns, bril­liantly bob­bing and weaving his way to rib crack­ing punch lines.

The comic might have been tasked with warm­ing up the stage but he ended up burn­ing it, put­ting pres­sure on the veterans who had to pull up their socks.

Al­though other co­me­di­ans in­clud­ing the head­line act did not dis­ap­point, one could eas­ily ar­gue that the night be­longed to Ti­naye.

The Sun­day Mail Leisure caught up with Ti­naye last week and he shared the story of his jour­ney.

Born in Harare in 1994, Ti­naye grew up in the high den­sity sub­urb of Sun­ning­dale, which is where he at­tended pri­mary school, and it was in this pe­riod that he dis­cov­ered his funny bone.

“I have al­ways been a funny char­ac­ter ever since I was a kid and in pri­mary school my teach­ers la­belled me a clown be­cause I al­ways joked around and did funny stuff in class,” said Ti­naye.

Af­ter at­tend­ing Gutu High School, he en­rolled at the Univer­sity of Zim­babwe where he is study­ing for a de­gree in Busi­ness Stud­ies.

With his pop­u­lar­ity set to con­tinue grow­ing as he has al­ready started get­ting slots at big events like Shoko Fes­ti­val and Black Opal Face of Zim­babwe, one would never think he had a rather rocky start.

“The first time I tried stand-up com­edy was in 2014 at the Book Café but it was a dis­as­ter as I failed to make a sin­gle per­son laugh, which made me think that com­edy was not meant for me and I quit.

“Af­ter re­al­is­ing that I re­ally wanted to be a co­me­dian, I de­cided to re­search about the in­dus­try, learn­ing the dy­nam­ics and all the el­e­ments that were nec­es­sary to be a suc­cess­ful co­me­dian. Af­ter prac­tis­ing on my own, I de­cided to hit the stage again in 2015 and this time around I man­aged to get the crowd re­spond­ing to my jokes.”

He said his gags are in­spired by his life ex­pe­ri­ences and the things that af­fect so­ci­ety as a whole, which makes it easy for the au­di­ence to re­late to some of the is­sues he tack­les.

Ti­naye has been per­form­ing at var­i­ous venues around the cap­i­tal, shar­ing the stage with other top acts and his stock con­tin­ues to rise with ev­ery set. While Al­fred Kainga’s show was the big­gest stage of his ca­reer, he be­lieves that big­ger things are com­ing in the near fu­ture.

“I just want to con­tinue work­ing hard so as to pre­fect my craft be­cause I be­lieve I have what it takes to scale greater heights in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try.”

The fu­ture surely looks bright for the co­me­dian and if he can keep the mo­men­tum go­ing in the long run, he might just re­alise his dreams.

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