It has always been difficult for women to make their mark in the male dominated club of comedy, but‚ ‘M’nyana wa Mau,’ popularly known as Rekunde, found a way to break through the comedy glass ceiling. The world just celebrated International Women’s Day recently so Mmegi Staffer MOMPATI TLHANKANE sat down with the hilarious woman who deserves a spot on any roster
As Botswana’s first female stand-up comedian, she has already made an indelible mark on the comedic landscape. Today’s comedy world is packed with brilliant male comedic minds, but Rekunde with her heavy Ngamiland accent is up there with the best.
Most comics, regardless of gender will tell you that they remember performing for only five people in their first comedy show. But for Rekunde, her road started when she made video clips in 2009 and people began to share them through Bluetooth and other social media sharing platforms.
Of course she wasn’t getting paid for the clips but she received wider recognition. Rekunde told Art & Culture that after performing as a musician at the 2009 President’s Day Competitions she ran into Ribcracker the stand-up comic.
“He told me that people liked me as a comic and asked me to join comedy,” she recalled. She said at the time she was not aware that comedy was different. Rekunde said she was then introduced to G-Spot of Major Moves Comedy. “I recall my first show at Cresta President Hotel in Gaborone and I knew then that this is a born talent,” she said.
Rekunde was quick to highlight that comedy runs in the family because her father had a great sense of humour and her younger brother, Sticks is also an upcoming comic.
Rekunde said she then performed alongside many established male comics and her confidence grew. “I had always been a public speaker. I was never shy even as a child,” she highlighted.
Rekunde said her Maun accent has been her greatest forte thus far. “It is different and special so people like that,” she said. She further told Arts & Culture that she
“I still have some people in the streets asking me to tell them jokes. I can’t just joke anywhere, anytime and all the time. You can’t ask Amantle Montsho to run every time you meet her or ask Vee to perform anywhere,” she pointed out. Rekunde said thus far her biggest challenge is that some women from her region are copying her style for bad reasons. “They use the Maun accent and insult others, so people think it’s me,” she said.
Rekunde said it is a sensitive issue because comedians don’t insult people. She said she puts her signature in all her video clips to differentiate herself from the imposters.
Rekunde said as a female comic she has observed that the arts industry in Botswana was still lagging behind, therefore in order for people to remain relevant they have to continue knocking on doors until they get answered.
“We must not be lazy as women,. We must show our existence even in male-dominated spheres. I am the first female comedian, so other ladies must follow suit,” she said. Rekunde said she not so long ago explored cartoons to test the waters. “We had people’s attention so cartoons showed that we can do more if we put more work into it”. Rekunde said going forward is to deliver her jokes in different languages other than Setawana.
“I am interested in performing outside Botswana because so far I haven’t done that,” she said.