Daring Night For Tragic Comedy at Andrew Manyika’s Harare Show: The Cologniser Review

It is a given that comedy and poetry have an ardent upmarket audience. It is also a given in the low-market suburbs that comedy is costly. Not the ticket price. But maybe the impression? Comedy is protest art mostly satire for the sole purpose of evoking thought. Protest against who? Comedians daringly have the answer. It can be ridiculous that without really thinking, first-timers would hesitate to dedicate their pleasurable nights to someone who makes fun of them. We laughed out our sadness on the 27th of this month at the Reps Theatre where Andrew Manyika invaded with The Cologniser column.

Andrew Manyika The Cologniser Review
Andrew Manyika

Altogether, the experience provoked Harare’s memory, race relations, inferiority complex and of course romance. Andrew says he recently got married. The surprise guest artist Pauline’s unforgettable famed love story with Roki was just there in sight. However, it’s actually the female comedian Munya who lighted up the scene with a composed performance as she had the audience in their seatbacks. Her engagement aroused the atmosphere. Hers was a freedom protest which fairly themed the tour. The execution was perfect in the way that the opening acts were able to paint the room with vivid images of escape, liberty, free will, sovereignty and so forth. The chains were unshackled. 

Pauline, a yesteryear hitmaker for Ndizvo Chete emerged as the surprise guest. A girl who has constantly strived for her freedom from just being known as ‘Mai Sky’. Her comfort on the mbira keys tickled the memory of the likes of Chiwoniso Maraire. The mbira sound is a beauty that we saw through her white dress. It was too revealing of her oozing zest to be herself and empower other ladies. A theme which resonated with Hey Hey Preacher’s spoken word set where he took the mic to protest against gender-based oppression. Not much can be said about Hey because his preaching has almost always been top-notch and well-articulated. He knows it’s a cliché but adamantly reinforces it. We liked it because how can we not see a stone that is about to strike us as Dambudzo Marechera would say? Societal vices like domestic violence have been a bomb on our roof for as long as memory serves.

Andrew ManyikA The Cologniser Review
Andrew Manyika

Enter Andrew Manyika, the man who filled the sizable theatre and strongly asserted his imperial attitude – indeed The Cologniser with an inverted G. See it? He doubles as a stand-up comedian and poet. His consistent reference to the bedroom euphemized the supposed peak years of his career. Andrew took over the barraging of assaulting satire on the innocent souls for the crime of choosing not to drink the Harare night lights. You were there; you knew what you are doing but are your ribs strong to remain sane? Stand-up comedy is daring. It is sensitive and explicit. It’s a quest for freedom. Take it this way, the atmosphere is invitingly sombre and the body can want to sleep but the mind shrugs it. Like intellectual intercourse which in the end illuminates that freedom is right in front of you. In the end, bears self-determination.

Related to the aforementioned notions ‘Make Up Your Mind’ is one of the poems that stood out. A very empowering and thought-provoking message which accepts the inherent tension of co-existence. Everything family, friendship, and relationships in the total of macro-equilibrium. Make up your mind. Clad in the suit loud enough to tell the audience of the ordeal at hand. It was evidently intentional of Andrew to start his set by observing protocol with a poem which pays tribute to the ancestral memory of what, when and how Zimbabwe became. Despite the accent which never failed to snitch his homesickness. The comedy was just sad and proudly so. He delivered a 5-star show worth the weight of Saturday nights.

Andrew Manyika The Cologniser Review
Andrew Manyika    

The event was anchored by the Swiss Agency for Development, British Council, Simuka Comedy and KAY Media Africa. The level of organization guaranteed value for money and accommodated a variety of audiences especially those like this writer who only peeped through the window into the shrine to become convicts of the therapeutic culture. The experience negotiated to come to terms with the harsh realities of the world that never thinks twice to alienate us based on the paradox of social constructs. The comedy industry was portrayed as an outlet for the residue of collateral damage realized by imperialist motives to disrupt other communities for capitalist gain.

The successful tour reeked national consciousness as a matter of urgency by simply making fun of it. Daring night for tragic comedy schemed by the blissful Cologniser – Andrew Manyika.

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Takudzwa Kadzura

I leave a piece of my heart in every writing, hope you find it.

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