Spotlight: Africa’s Social Media Comedy Gurus
Meet the comedians who are humorously bringing African culture to our fingertips. Clifford Owusu (@KappaCinco), DuloGotJokes (@iamdulo), AfricanApe (@AphricanApe06) and Anne Kansiime (@Kansiime256) are among the young web personalities of the diaspora who are using social media to bring African humour to visibility on the internet. What makes them so funny? In a world where entertainment content is very ‘western-heavy,’ these comedians have enabled Africans to see and laugh at themselves.
Clifford Owusu catapulted to fame with his YouTube video called ‘The reason Africans don’t answer phone calls’. In the video Clifford misses a call because he is too busy dancing to the ring tone. Clifford is an avid dancer (as are most Africans) and most of his videos are dance themed. He also makes us laugh with his videos of African dad (in his signature stripped dashiki) who terrorises a young Clifford. Africanape06 made his hilarious breakout video with a more controversial topic titled ‘Breaking up with your American girlfriend vs. African girlfriend!’ In the video African girls are portrayed as being the pinnacle of emotional stability, handling break-ups with ease. His other videos center around differences between how Americans do things and how Africans do things and he also has an African dad and mum theme (in signature dashiki and bright green traditional hat and gele). Dulo gained recognition from featuring in videos with Africanape such as ‘Knocking on the door: Americans Vs. Africans!!!...’. While most of Dulo’s videos are on Facebook and Instagram, he too has a YouTube channel called The Dulo Show where some of his videos can be seen. Most of his videos are focused on African family dynamics i.e. #Africankidstruggles and #Africanparents. Ugandan comedian, Anne Kansime has a proverbial lid for every pot and her videos always have an unexpected twist where she outwits her peers (and surprises us) with cunning. Her video titled ‘Kansiime Anne Keep Off Her Man’ was aired on MiniBuzz and put her unique humour style in the spotlight. In the video Anne visits her man’s mistress and asks suspicious questions about whether or not the woman has health insurance or can defend herself, all while changing into sports clothes as she prepares to beat up the mistress. Out of fear, the mistress relinquishes all claims to the man of her own volition. Since then Anne has been making people all over the continent laugh with her unique brand of humor.
These comedians’ videos find humour in situations specific to African culture and often also call attention to social issues including parent-child relationships, gender roles, over religiousness of African elders and perceptions of African women. Their content challenges traditional stereotypes of the continent and its people. They’ve brought something that shows that the African experience is both diverse and relatable to Africans and non-Africans alike.
Their work and momentum as entertainers is praiseworthy because these internet stars have bypassed the traditional barriers of the industry and are enriching the comedy pool by adding African culture to the existing pool of comedy culture. Africa is called the ‘mobile continent’ because of the unprecedented internet use on mobile phones which these comedians are leveraging to reach their audience. The internet and social media specifically have made them a phenomenon with their YouTube videos spurning multiple, likes, shares, retweets, follows, gifs and memes. The growth of their social capital is a clear indication that there is indeed, a huge market for what the African continent has to offer in the way of entertainment. Their success also invites other aspiring African entertainers to pursue careers in comedy with the internet providing opportunities to people who otherwise wouldn’t have it.