The second instalment of the Bulawayo Arts Awards are upon us, tonight the royal capital comes alive. Over the last couple of months nominees have peddled their pictures on WhatsApp posts asking us to vote for them. Emotions have and are still running high. So I pose a question to you all:Who did you vote for?
I am a huge fan of comedy and I was faced with a tricky situation of having to vote for who was the best comedy act of the year. We have three options to choose from for the best comedy act of the year. Our options are; in no particular order – Mandla Da Comedian, MaForty and Clive Chigubu. These are some very good stand-up comedy acts. Forming an opinion about them should only come after one has seen them perform at least three times.
Three is a very good number to judge anything by. It is divine even. Jesus waited three days before he returned from the dead. In baseball the batsman is thrown back to the bench if he gets three strikes. And in football scoring thrice in one match has a name, hat trick. I digress… What I’m trying to say is you can’t judge a comedian on just one act. You need to see if they can set a standard and maintain it. Sustainability is essential. The trick is though, that the awards are judged based on what one has done in the calendar year preceding the awards. In the last year I have gone to several shows where these comedians gave performances – some stellar and some, well.. I’ll leave that there. Let me break it down for you, at least in the way I see it.
Mandla Da comedian
What if Clive wins and it turns out BAAs are just a way of giving Clive an honour that Bulawayo hasn’t given him and he wins this award. Despite being a very qualified comedian who can compete anywhere in the nation and even continentally, my opinion is that Clive does not deserve this award. Not this year anyway. Yes, he has been travelling and making a name (one hopes) outside our borders. But a man cannot be named a good father for feeding the neighbour’s children while his own starve. (He can self nominate in the best ambassador category next year).
In my opinion, the grind is between MaForty and Mandla.Seemingly out of nowhere, MaForty became the talk of town. The diminutive, soft spoken comedian may have missed the target a few times, but seemed to find his funny bone in the year leading up to the 2018 BAAs. From winning the Shoko festival newcomer award, to cracking ribs at locally organised shows, this young man seems to me to be set for bigger things where comedy is concerned. And if ever one of the BAA sponsors wanted a winner to represent them, he wouldn’t be a bad idea either. The young man seems very disciplined and presentable.
Mandla da Comedian, in the other corner, is the reigning king of comedy according to the NAMAs. Who can forget the classic ‘Watondikanganwa’ joke. This young man made a mark for himself too, at home and in the capital city. Collaborations with the likes of award winning Gonyeti saw him do skits for company advertorials too. And save for an occasion or two, he has been in top performing form.
So the tough question is: Who shall walk away with the title of Bulawayo’s funniest man come Saturday the 26th of May? I have cast my votes, I hope you did too.