35-year old comedian has lit the airwaves and local and international stages on fire with his witty and sometimes raw jokes. He shares his passion for his craft and his success tips to upcoming comedians
Listening to Skhumba, who has featured in Kaya FM since 2012, it’s pretty hard to believe that he never considered comedy as a career since his high school days. He knew he could keep an audience though as his schoolmates always looked forward to hearing about the fun and funny activities he was always up to during school holidays. Since his mother couldn’t afford to fund his varsity fees Hlophe worked at the SAPS as a clerk for 13 years, but he prefers to call it a senior personnel officer, which he says sounds fancier.
Though money never been Hlophe’s motive to branch into comedy, he is proof that passion does pay the bills. He started his comedy journey at a club in Tembisa, where he grew up, a couple of years ago and it was a success. His annual birthday show, Skhumba’s Birthday Comedy Extravaganza takes place on the last Friday of August and this year will be his seventh edition.
Doors opened up for Skhumba four years ago when he was given the chance to showcase his comic talent at the Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards with other upcoming comedians. He says, “Greg Maluka, who is the station manager of Kaya FM, was in the crowd and asked me to be part of the station’s annual cruise. I was the only comedian there and no one knew me but everyone knew who I was when we came back home.” This was the beginning of his weekly feature at Kaya FM.
The comedian describes his day by opening his eyes first then taking his son to school every Monday to Thursday since he has a morning show on Fridays. Depending on his schedule he then shoots two television shows which he features in: Change Down with co-presenter Boity Thulo on SABC 1 and Throw Back Thursday with Gabisile Tshabalala on Mzansi Magic. “If nothing keeps me busy I watch TV, I don’t want to lie and act busy,” he says. He is also currently working on the third season of a Sitcom, Thandeka’s Diary.
His love of making people laugh keeps him going and also credits his success to David Kau, who he always looked up to. His talent has earned him recognition and a fan base across the US, Australia and Europe.
One of the highlight of his career this year is selling out 22 shows out of the 24 he has toured and is preparing for his third tour, taking place on 6 October. Life seems to be great for the comedian who has been nominated four times, second year in a row at the Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards. “Being nominated for these awards means a lot to me because it shows that people in this industry take my job seriously and recognise my passion,” he says. He also has a team of eight people who help him build the brand he is today.
There’s more to Skhumba than comedy, who started a project called Walk this way with Skhumba where he donates wheelchairs to disabled people from disadvantaged communities. In 2016 he donated 160 wheelchairs and this month he donated 227 in Soshanguve, Pretoria. Apart from comedy, Skhumba’s son keeps him very busy.
His advice to young people, “Don’t be a comedian. But if you love this career just know that comedy is not a joke. If you want to be on stage, you have to respect your crowd and your craft. Do it because you love it.”
Catch Skhumba Hlope every Fridays on Kaya FM from 06:00 am- 09:00 am. Don’t miss out on his birthday comedy extravaganza show at the Rabasotho Hall in Tembisa on 1 September 2017 at R120.00 a ticket.
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Don’t miss out on this year’s Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards on 9 September at The Lyric Theatre, in Gold Reef City, from 20:00PM. R 295 will get you in.