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David Kau

David Kau
Leading South African comedian David Kau's name is synonymous with many firsts. At just 32-years-old, this Kroonstad-born comic began his career as the first black stand-up comedian in the 1998 Smirnoff Comedy Festival in Cape Town. The only black person on stage out of 44 comics.

"I'd never had experience in stand-up comedy," recalls David, "the first comedy show I ever saw was the first one I was in." And for the next few years David was a headliner in this international comedy festival.

In 1998 David – who had begun to study electrical engineering in 1995 before dropping it for acting at the University of Cape Town in 1996 then pursuing a Performers Diploma in Speech and Drama – performed The Rainbow Nation Tour, his first one-man show.

David wrote and performed The Rainbow Nation Tour to graduate but continued with politically-savvy comedy with his next play, Introducing The Peoples Comic in 2000. Of his material David says "it isn't all influenced by politics – and it wasn't politically influenced back then – instead it's always about what's current."

In 2001 David appeared in sketches on the TV show, The Phat Joe Show. Having already carved out a niche in the market as the best black comedian in the country – if not the only, David left the Mothercity for Johannesburg where he performed in Heavyweight Comedy Jams from 2000 and Comedy Black Out in 2002 til 2004. The line up included budding comedians Kagiso Lediga, Tshepo Mogale and Roni Modimola.

In 1997 David then joined forces with his university friend, Kagiso Lediga who "wanted to make films while I wanted to do stand-up comedy" to start the Pure Monate Show (PMS) which only aired in 2004. They then recruited the likes of Tshepo Mogale, Roni Modimola, Joey Rasdien, Chris Forrest, Riaad Moosa, David Kibuuka, Loyiso Gola and Kim Engelbrecht to partake in what was "inspired by In Living Colour. We just wanted to create a comedy sketch show because there wasn't one in South Africa." The second season of PMS premiered in 2005.

David soon grew tired of the fact that there wasn't a space for black stand-up comedians to showcase their work in their own languages. So Blacks Only comedy shows, that he started as a one-night-only affair in 2005 is now in its sixth year. The show – occurring 3 or 4 times a year in Johannesburg – now travels to Cape Town, Durban and Bloemfontein's Macufe Arts Festival.

As a comedy first, Blacks Only catapulted David into instant household name status and proved that he is indeed a forerunner in the comedy industry. It is befitting then that in 2006 David performed and released his first stand-up comedy show DVD, I Did These Jokes First. He is currently performing its prequel, I Should've Done These Jokes First.

David has also wrapped his first feature film, Hoteleng which was produced by him and Teboho Mahlatsi. No stranger to movies, David has also appeared in Gums and Noses and Akin Omotoso's God Is African. From the big screen to the small one, in 2008 David became the face and head judge of Fanta's So You Think You're Funny reality show. They are currently working on the third season.

This stage star who was named the Star Comedian at the Stars of Mzansi Awards says "charity begins at home – Kroonstad." With his NPO, 111 Kau Foundation, David is currently putting children from his hometown through school and helping feed and clothe kids at Dimphonyana Tsa Lapeng orphanage in Midrand. He is also a 46664 It's No Joke ambassador.

Nine years ago David was the first, and only, Kroonstad celebrity to host David Kau's Annual Christmas Party for his friends and fans. Today this is one of the more popular events on South Africa's social calendar. With so many career-firsts it's no wonder that David Kau is one of the most sought-after comedians on the continent.

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Chris Forrest

Chris Forrest

CHRIS FORREST
HE’S A REALLY FUNNY GUY

He speaks slow, but he thinks quick. Some call him South Africa's answer to Steven Wright, others say who is Steven Wright, whilst others say we're out of milk can you please pick some up on your way home. Chris Forrest, the deadpan face of South African comedy.

Chris Forrest has been on the forefront of South Africa's comedy scene for close to ten years now. His unique dry sense of humour has made him one of the country's most popular comedians and ensured that audiences are left in stitches wherever he goes.

Best known for his TV appearances such as being one of the stars of the "Pure Monate Show" and numerous successful ad campaigns which include being Sasol's volunteer Olympic coach "Coach Joe", the "Yo" guy for the Vodacom Challenge, and the recent eBucks advert we he played four different versions of himself. He's also had smaller roles on Komplex, and the Emmy nominated episode of "Sorted"

Chris has also been a regular performer on South Africa's premier comedy show "The Heavyweight Comedy Jam" which tours the country on a regular basis, as well as being an honorary black man on the hugely successful "Blacks Only Show" which has revolutionised comedy in SA. Chris is also the regular host of the King Size Comedy Shows, attracting crowds of three thousand plus. Chris also played The famous Lyric Theatre in West End, London to huge acclaim.

Having performed with distinction at functions ranging from corporate launches for Microsoft, SASOL, Mondi, ABSA, SAB, Vodacom, MTN and more recently eBucks print and TV campaign to music festivals such as Oppikoppi. Working as both a comedian and an emcee Chris has proved himself to be one of the most versatile and consistent performers in the country, enjoyed by audiences of all ages and races.

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Kim Engelbrecht

Kim Engelbrecht

It's astonishing to think that Kim Engelbrecht, now firmly established as a leading South African actress, never once thought she would be a household name when she was growing up.

From a small middle class family in Cape Town this 27-year-old started her career at the age of 12, playing the lead - Sara in the Italian production, 'Sarahsara' (based on the true-life story of a 12-year-old cripple girl of Sudanese decent, who swims the 35km challenge from the Isle of Capri to Napoli in Italy)

After school Engelbrecht worked at a local gym. "One day I was working there and this guy came in with a camera and crew. He was shooting something for Craz-E, a new television show, and he asked me to come and audition for it."

At just 18, Engelbrecht started her journey towards being one of South Africa's most well-known faces - spending nine months on the daily national programme on eTV before moving to Johannesburg in 1999 to host their flagship youth show, Take Five. Engelbrecht was chosen out of around five thousand girls. "I couldn't believe that I got through but it did mean moving to Johannesburg."

Engelbrecht remained part of Take Five until 2004 - but again, her ever-evolving destiny stepped in and in 2002 she auditioned for the role of Lolly, the controversial teenager on the SABC 3 soapie, Isidingo. Getting into the role presented a challenge for Englebrecht. "I remember the producers saying to me to stop trying so hard and just go with the character in the beginning.

During her years playing Lolly, Engelbrecht began spreading her wings, joining the Pure Monate Show to write and perform comedy, as well as taking on the role of Sadika, a lesbian dancer on the cop drama Zero Tolerance. Her film career also began moving in a more serious direction: she won the role of Nancy in the 2004 production of 'Twist', where she stepped into the shoes of a Cape Town Prostitute and lover of Bill Sykes and also appeared in the 2005 independent film,' The Flyer'.
The film that has done the most to reveal Engelbrecht's at times sublime ability to bring a character to life on the big screen is the multi-award winning 'Bunny Chow'. Directed by John Barker., the film is an examination of urban living in contemporary South Africa character.

Most recently, Engelbrecht has taken her ability to convey wild and conflicting emotions to the stage, starring as the troubled Scout in the South African version of Ben Elton's 'Popcorn' for which she earned a Naledi nomination for best new comer. Also playing Pettie Peters the lead in "Kroes". An Afrikaans piece based on a novel by Pat Stameteloos,which opened at the Suidooste fees this year.

"Acting is an ongoing learning experience and that is something I have learned to love."

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Deep Fried Man

Deep Fried Man

Deep Fried Man offers deeply entertaining, custom-made material for corporate events.

Despite being relatively new to the comedy scene, musical comedian Deep Fried Man has won multiple awards and performed at many of South Africa's biggest comedy events (Bafunny Bafunny, Blacks Only, The Heavyweight Comedy Jam and many more). He is also known for his musical performances as a member of the cast of popular television show Late Nite News With Loyiso Gola, his appearance in acclaimed local film Material and for his award-winning debut one-man show Deeply Fried and its successful follow-up White Whine.

He has also entertained the guests at events held by some of the country's top companies, firms, organisations and brands. When it comes to corporate entertainment he has a skill that sets him apart from other comedians - the ability to write witty, relevant material custom made for your event. Armed with his guitar, Deep Fried Man can and will turn anything his clients ask him to into hilarious songs tailor-made for the occasion. This ability has proven a hit at corporate functions.

Memorable moments from recent corporate performances include him singing his 'Rugby Song' to Victor Matfield himself at a Supersport event as well as a song he had written especially for the occasion; honoring 'The Everyday Heroes of MWeb' at an awards ceremony held by the company; singing songs about the challenges involved in education at an event for the Peermont Education Trust; writing songs specifically about tech and social media for the Tech Africa conference and singing hilarious personalised songs to the volunteers on the Hatzolah Medical Rescue team.

Deep Fried Man is a consummate professional who is willing to go the extra mile to entertain the guests of any function for any company. His blend of music, comedy and specially-written material offers something completely unique to the South African corporate world.

Deep Fried Man's past corporate clients have included Supersport, MWeb, Nedbank, Deloite, Momentum, Altrisk, Software Testing Solutions, Brunswick, Powertech IST, Peermont, Purple Capital, Chevra Kadisha, Norton Rose, Lynne Estates and many more.

"Fantastic… Creative improv, great rapport with audience, jumps genres all the time… I love his sense of humour. Wacky and unique". - Zapiro

Winner of: Comics Choice Awards 2011 (Newcomer), Standard Bank Ovation Award
Nominated for: Comics Choice Awards 2012 (Breakthrough Category)
Comics Choice Awards 2012 (Audience Choice Category)
Comics Choice Awards 2013 (Breakthrough Category)

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Zelda la Grange

Zelda la Grange

Zelda la Grange currently lives in Johannesburg. She was born on October 29, 1970 and was brought up in Pretoria – North of Johannesburg. After completing her studies, she joined the Department of State Expenditure and worked in the Human Resources division until circumstances forced her to look for alternative employment.

From joining the President’s office as Senior Ministerial Typist in 1994 Zelda became head of logistics for President Nelson Mandela. Working closely with various government departments she coordinated his itinerary, travel arrangements, security and transport and accompanying him on domestic and international visits when needed.

Zelda was officially appointed one of President Nelson Mandela’s three private secretaries in 1997 and, upon his retirement in May 1999, President Nelson Mandela requested Zelda to remain in his service.

For the first few years since his retirement Zelda was solely responsible for all negotiations on foreign travel as it concerned President Nelson Mandela whether with foreign governments or business that hosted the former President abroad. She has been on more than 180 trips abroad accompanying the former President on both official and private trips, the majority during which she was the only administrative and personal support in his delegation apart from medical and security personnel. Without infrastructure, Zelda helped to establish the post- President official, handling all travel and logistics co-ordination, public relations and media concerning Mr. Mandela acting as Mr. Mandela’s Executive Personal Assistant. She managed his diary as well as all business related to his public life. The Nelson Mandela Foundation was established in 1999 to support Mr. Mandela’s ongoing work but has moved its focus due to Mr. Mandela’s retirement and is now becoming a centre of excellence as the Centre of Memory – similar to what may be known as Presidential library.

Today, she serves Mr. Mandela as a Personal Assistant on a part time arrangement since his retirement from public life in 2008. She has embarked on several other initiatives, of which notably include Bikers for Mandela Day, an initiative associated with the annual Mandela Day during which she pays tribute to her employer of more than 18 years by doing community work and encouraging others to do the same. She is also involved in several other civil society initiatives and is a part time life style presenter on the regional radio station Jacaranda FM.

She has been awarded by a number of institutions for her commitment, loyalty and dedication to President Mandela over the past 18 years and spends much of her time encouraging young people to find their passion in life and then to pursue it.

BOOK

 

David Kau

 

Chris Forrest

 

Zelda la Grange

 

Kim Engelbrecht

 

Deep Fried Man

Joey Rasdien

Conrad Koch

Paul Snodgrass

Tumi Morake

Melanie Jones

Ndumiso Lindi

Riaad Moosa

Alan Committie

Carol Manana