It’s a huge task that requires courage, to be given a microphone and you are then supposed to be the “funny ace man” at a function jam-packed with strangers.
At that point, you don’t even trust your comic skills. In your mind you ask questions like, will people laugh at my comic set or they will laugh at me?
This was the exact scenario for Bulawayo comedian Zwelithini “Zwe” Hlabangana back in 2018.
A friend always admired Zwe’s sense of humour every time they were having a chillout.
It was until that year (2018) that youths at a local Roman Catholic church were holding a couples’ dinner, yet there was no master of ceremony (MC) for the event.
This is the gig that changed Zwe’s life and he decided to take his “wordsmith” skills seriously.
“My first professional gig was a couples’ dinner in 2018. A former high school friend of mine always admired how I talk. He always said I have the potential to stand in front of people and say something.
“He referred a client to me who needed someone to host Valentine’s dinner at a Roman Catholic church. At that point I had mixed emotions because I honestly didn’t know what I was doing.
“I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and I guess I nailed it. After that gig, I started attracting more clients. This is the point in my life that I realised I could earn money through being an MC and a comedian,” said Zwe.
The incident made Zwe flash back to his high school heydays.
“After doing my research and perfecting my comic skills, I then realised that this thing of being funny was always on me. At Nkulumane High back in 2012, I was the one who kept my classmates entertained when teachers were on strike.
“It’s unfortunate that when it’s during those times (school days) you will be dismissed as a clown but that’s when other people get to discover their talents,” said Zwe.
The 23-year-old has performed with a number of well-known comedians but he has shared the stage with Ntando Van Moyo, more than any other.
The two met at Pub Lagondola at the open mic sessions which were held by Umahlekisa Comedy Club.
“Partnering with Ntando is the best thing I have ever experienced in the comedy industry because I learnt a lot from him and am still learning. He is more like a brother to me and that makes our work less complicated,” said Zwe.