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Babu: I owe it to hard work, determination

January-26
00:37 AM 2016


At an early age, his career kicked off as a stage actor. However, over time, John Muyenzi whose stage name is Babu has found his way into stand-up comedy.
Born in Kisumu in Kenya 20 years ago, Babu grew up in Webuye, a town in Western Kenya with his mother since his father had moved back to Rwanda shortly after his birth.

Babu’s venture into the arts started not long after he had joined Kigali Parents’ primary School in 2005 shortly after his return to Kigali. His curiosity first led him to Mashirika Creative Arts, where he sighted gigs as a freelance drama actor.
“I used to get some little money, which enabled me to pay school fees,” Babu recalled.

He recalled his biggest gig, during which he was selected to act in Deutsche Welle’s Kiswahili radio play. He earned Rwf150,000.
In 2008, George Shimanyura, a Kenyan play director, spotted the talent in Babu as he took part in rehearsals of Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames, a Christian play which later premiered at Christian Life Assembly (CLA) Church in Nyarutarama and one day introduced him to the church’s drama team.

Babu, together with colleagues Kemi Andrew, Galvin Mwendwa and George Birungi, who are currently in Comedy Knights, then started out on small acts after the usual main play rehearsals, which the entire drama group always looked out for and applauded on performing.

Mr Shimanyura advised them to develop their acts into ‘Stand Up Comedy’, which he said was rare and would turn out into something huge for them, “We found this strange, since we had never seen or heard of it, we went on, but doing it jokingly for fun,” explains Babu.

In 2010, Babu met other colleagues Arthur Nkusi, Michael Sengazi, HerveKimenyi among others, with whom they founded the Comedy Knights, a group which has grown to make stand-up comedy a reputable art in the country till today, “When we committed ourselves to stand-up comedy, it wasn’t for money, but for passion. We had no audience, but ourselves, and I love how far we’ve grown in it,” he explains.
“As comedians, we have developed from performing in a group, to solely handling an audiences,” he added.

Babu says that he has grown more confidence and experience overtime, which he believes is to take him further.

Source: The East African

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