"I’m originally from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. I arrived in South Africa in 2011 when I was 15 to complete my high school studies. I was brought here by my aunt and lived with her in Johannesburg. My mother passed away in 2001, my father still lives in Zimbabwe.
At the beginning, it was kind of strange to be in South Africa, because I was trying to adapt to a new country, learn new languages. In Zimbabwe, we only have three main official languages, but in South Africa there are 11! It was easy for me to integrate and to make friends because I was always the funny guy. I like to talk a lot.
I used to take acting classes after school. They used to give us homework, so one day I was researching comedians on YouTube and I watched a video by Jeff Dunan. I thought “wow this guy is good, he’s doing magic tricks!”. The more I watched though, the more I understood it was not magic, but actually, ventriloquism. It figured it was a skill I could learn, so I taught myself by watching YouTube videos.
Then I started doing my own thing by combining ventriloquism with comedy. At first, people just laughed because it’s funny to see a puppet talking, but when I started writing comedy scripts, people laughed at that too.
Now I do stand-up comedy and ventriloquism shows.
Right now, my full-time job is comedy – it’s what pays the bills! I perform in different places, all over South Africa - private functions and comedy clubs.
What boosted my profile was my participation in SA’s Got Talent 2016 – I made it to the semi-finals, so after that people started recognising me and hiring me for comedy gigs.
I have never been treated differently for being a foreigner. I’ve learnt to adapt and to fit in. I have learnt by observing and talking at the right time. I can now speak four South African languages, which makes it easier to connect with people from different backgrounds. Kids learn languages fast!
People laugh at something they can relate to, so I make jokes that people from different backgrounds can laugh at. I use the languages I’ve learnt to make the audience laugh – I make fun of the way they pronounce things in different languages, such as Tswana, Xhosa or Zulu.
My puppet is a monkey called Jackie. Her name was inspired by the debate sparked by Penny Sparrow’s racist tweet (derogatory comments comparing black people to monkeys, which went viral in 2015 and sparked a huge debate about racism in South Africa). Jackie is a monkey and claims not to be black, so she makes people laugh!
I want to reach millions with my comedy and I want Chik Aljoy to become a global household name. I want to make millions of people laugh! "
photo credits: IOM/Chiara frisone