Obakeng Moroe Wins Kasi World Comedy Showdown
Anyone who attended the full house performance of the finals of the Kasi World Comedy Showdown at the Baxter Theatre on Saturday afternoon will agree that comedy in Cape Town’s townships is alive and well; actually it’s thriving.
Nine talented “novice” proponents of the art form, each finalist from a long process of elimination, presented their contribution to an enthusiastic audience and a panel of judges. The calibre of the material was entertaining, refreshing, original and certainly out of the top drawer.
Bloemfontein born and raised graphic designer, 34 year old Obakeng Moroe, now resident in Kraaifontein, won the competition. He takes home R5 000 in cash and joins the cast of The Jive Cape Town Funny Festival, South Africa’s top comedy festival where he will get to work with the cream of local and international comics for an entire month.
“I’ve always been fascinated by humour and comedy and though I have been on stage as a rapper and musician before, I only embraced stand-up comedy six months ago! This is all a dream. I have huge respect for the work of the other participants. I am totally humbled and overwhelmed,” said Obakeng.
The Kasi World Comedy Showdown is a project put together by comedy and theatre activists Pius Xulu, Kolping Mbumba and Mandisi Sono. The Showdown took place over a period of three months, from screening the initial entrants, with semi-finals drawn from shows at the Makukhanye Art Room in Khayelitsha, the Black Box Theatre at Rent Office, Delft, and the Kraai4Theatre in Kraaifontein and the Zolani Center in Nyanga.
Eventually nine finalists were selected, all of whom presented their three-minute routines to the judges. The judging panel comprising actress and comic, Shimmy Isaacs, Jive marketing director Sean Burton and Funny Festival director, Eddy Cassar, selected the winner from finalists were Sxuva, Arlene Petersen, Kwanda Kwaymaster Ndoda, Hlekuncame Entertainment, Chantal Jaxx Venter, Obakeng Moroe, Ayabonga Kene, Prince M’baya and Sim Sima.
Eddy Cassar, Festival Director of the Jive Cape Town Funny Festival says that he is thrilled with the development.
“I am blown away by the quality of the performers at the finals. There wasn’t a weak act. The audience could not believe that these are novice performers. It was a fantastic show and a great showcase for what’s happening on the comedy scene in the city. I must thank the City of Cape Town who supported this initiative”, said Cassar.
“In the past I have witnessed raw talent develop into confident top class performers, which has transformed people’s lives. It’s a noble initiative and one that The Jive Funny Festival is proud to be part of”.
Past winners include Reagan Allen, Lindy Johnson, Yaaseen Barnes and others, who have all made their mark on the South African comedy industry. All three are still involved and successful in the industry.
“When I won this competition three years ago it was a gate-opener and gave me great direction and purpose” says 2016 winner, Yaaseen Barnes. “It was the stamp of approval I needed and a wonderful acceptance into the industry. It was an important recognition of my voice in the industry. I have never looked back”, says Yaaseen.
The Jive Cape Town Funny Festival runs at the Baxter Theatre from 1-28 July. Bookings can be made through webtickets.