By Kundai Marunya
The recent closure of Harare’s premier arts hub, Book Café rendered the arts industry inactive both for upcoming and known artistes.
It was especially a huge blow to Simuka Comedy, Zimbabwe’s leading comedy night that was born and nurtured at the venue. Though the effects are heavily felt, founders of the platform continue to flourish with new ideas at new venues across town.
Co-founder Simba Kakora aka Simba The Comic King explains, “After the closure of Book Café we decided to not only branch out but create a comedy circuit as well. A circuit is very important for the growth of standup comedy as I witnessed the few times I’ve toured South Africa.”
Victor Tinashe Mpofu aka Doc Vikela spread his wings initiating the start of the weekly Doc Vikela & Friends that takes place every Thursday at the Rainbow Towers. At this platformhe is the host while featuring other new and veteran comedians.
Simuka Comedy will also be launching a new comedy night at Sopranos Coffee Shop in Avondale this Friday aptly titled Sopranos Comedy Night. “The idea is to reach out to all types of markets, during the time we’ve been promoting comedy in Zimbabwe we’ve realized that everyone loves comedy but some people will choose not to go to certain venues, which is why are now setting up platforms in all types of venues and places so that there’s something for everyone,” said Kakora.
Sopranos Comedy Night will see comedians; Long John, Prosper the Comic Pastor and veterans, Michael Kudakwashe and Simba Kakora take to the stage.
Simuka Comedy was founded in June 2011 by then upcoming comedians Doc Vikela and Simba The Comic King. This also marked the first steps for local standup comedy to develop into an industry and has gone on to establish the careers of many of the top comedians in Zimbabwe. It continues to nurture the talent of new comedians through workshops and comedy nights.