LOCAL comedian, Tšepo “Masapo” Mpiti achieved a first by representing the country at last Saturday’s Savanna Pan-African Comics Choice Awards in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Sea-Point born Masapo, who is currently studying in Bloemfontein, joined other ambassadors chosen from different African countries at the launch of the prestigious awards which will now be open to other countries including Ghana, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland.
The event coincided with the final hosting of the Savanna Comics Choice awards (open to South Africans) which will pave way for the new pan-African format.
Masapo said he was “overwhelmed” by the opportunity to perform and also present an award at such a prestigious event.
“I’d never performed in South Africa before and this as a great milestone because my debut came at one of the biggest comedy awards in Africa which are now open to other African countries,” Masapo told the Weekender this week.
“It was an experience of a lifetime with an all-expenses paid trip including flight, accommodation and shopping allowances. It was my first time being pampered like that.
“We arrived in Johannesburg four days before the main event and we engaged in a lot of promotional campaigns till the show on Saturday.”
Masapo said the organisers had searched the internet for a comedian from Lesotho before settling on him.
“My name kept resurfacing and they saw the good work that I do via my posts. They then called me,” he said from his Bloemfontein base.
Masapo also said he would take advantage of his ambassadorial role to showcase the Lesotho comedy scene to the continent.
“As ambassador, I have been tasked with ensuring that many Basotho comedians grasp the opportunity with both hands. I will be in the country before month end and host a number of shows to promote the awards.”
Masapo (bones- a name given to slim-built people) is also a member of local outfit The Inglorious Comedians. The group hosts monthly comedy nights and shows in Maseru, Maputsoe and Roma.
Fellow group member Relebohile “MSL Relo” Mosola commended Masapo for laying a good foundation for them, saying they now needed to make the best of the opportunity.
“We’ve been struggling to make people take us seriously for they just view us as a laughing stock. Either they don’t pay us at all or they just offer drinks and food as compensation.
“What Masapo has achieved will help open other avenues that will enable us to tap into other countries, just like acts from other countries have done in our country. Pan African Comedy Awards will give us the spotlight and expose us to different nations.
“We are also planning to have a national tour before the year ends in celebration of Masapo. We will also use the opportunity to recruit more comedians so that we can be well represented at the awards next year,” he said.