Zimbabwean art has seen the birth of short online skits distributed through social media, capturing hearts of many, while commanding a substantial following across networks. There has been a growing number of local and diaspora based comedians who are producing good quality skits that have been well received.
Twenty-four-year-old Joab Magara of Vitae Arts, who is popularly known as Gearbox, is among a discerning group of comedians who have become household names in comedy.
Despite having left the country for the United Kingdom when he was 10 years old, his work still explores realities of a Zimbabwean family unit; an element he says is a result of his strong connection with his roots.
“I felt there was a gap in Zimbabwe of artists who are naturally funny. Of course there are those who have been doing great but I felt there wasn’t enough content to fill the void left by naturally funny Zimbabweans like Gringo and others,” Magara said.
His skits are centred on a character called Gearbox, a young Zimbabwean man who travels to the United Kingdom in search of better prospects with his family.
“My goal is to ensure that both Britons and Zimbabweans understand each other. My work tries to bridge the gap and demystify some held ideas,” he said.
Magara’s skits are mainly in Shona more than English; a content structure he said is deliberate. “It would have been easier to do comedy with British characters but I wanted to communicate with my people. Once I started to do skits for the Zimbabwean audience, it made more sense because the reception was amazing. Obviously I will include British characters every now and then but that’s for my home audience so they understand how people are like in the UK,” Magara said.
Magara is a fulltime artist who is hoping his craft will earn him a living one day. “My intention is to eventually return home once all this starts paying so I can play a part in the development of a creative industry in Zimbabwe.a drama and creative graduate from the University of Western England said.
On average his pages get close to 20 000 views with each upload, a testament of popularity with the internet audience.
He believes Zimbabwe will be a force to reckon with on the comedy scene in a few years to come if all players are consistent.
Besides making people laugh, Magara also plays the lead guitar and has performed with touring Zimbabwean artists like Takesure Zamar among others. The Herald