Tumusabe: Rwanda's only female comedian wants women to join the industry

Her passion for comedy and immense admiration for renowned Ugandan comedian Ann Kansiime pushed her into the industry. 23 year- old Nakato Phrister Tumusabe has defied odds by joining the male-dominated comedy industry. So far, the only female comedian, Tumusabe hopes to take her career to greater heights. Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa had a chat with her on what being the only female comedian has been like for her.
Nakato on stage
Nakato on stage

Her passion for comedy and immense admiration for renowned Ugandan comedian Ann Kansiime pushed her into the industry. 23 year- old Nakato Phrister Tumusabe has defied odds by joining the male-dominated comedy industry. So far, the only female comedian, Tumusabe hopes to take her career to greater heights. Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa had a chat with her on what being the only female comedian has been like for her.

How and when did you discover your comic talent?

When I was young. At first, it was all fun and games and my friends know me to be one who cracks jokes all the time. I however didn’t know that I would end up on stage until 2014 when I was watching Ann Kansime and other Ugandan comedians that I became inspired to give it a try.

I joined Com Factory last year when they asked young talent to join them and I started talking to other influencers like Babu who encouraged me.

They were impressed and supportive of my talent. In March, last year, I made my first appearance on stage and it was really exciting.

I’ve since learned a lot from my colleagues and Com Factory has contributed a lot in improving my talent.

Currently, I perform twice every month although I am supposed to perform every weekend which doesn’t happen due to my other busy work schedule.

Where do you get ideas from before appearing on stage?

Through simple things and everyday life. I’m naturally very observant and I write a lot, whatever I see. Once I have an idea that triggers my mind, the material will just flow easily when I write.

How is it like working in a male dominated industry?

It makes me feel amazing to be a funny female. Besides being the only female has earned me special care and treatment from my peers. I love comedy but here it is not yet a sustainable job that one can do full time. I however do not wish to be the only female in the industry and I am encouraging more women to join me.

Do you feel the responsibility to raise the bar for women in the industry?

Yes. I want to motivate young girls because comedy is fun and is not only for males. I happened to be on stage one time and a lady approached me and told me I was doing a terrible thing being on stage and cracking jokes. I do not know this woman but imagine what she would do to her daughter if she had the talent.

I feel like there is sense of belief in this country that women cannot stand on stage and make people laugh. Comedy is just having fun and making money, how should that be a gender issue.

What have been your best and worst moments since you began comedy?

My best moments are seeing my audience excited and laughing out loud at my jokes. My worst moments have been forgetting my jokes on stage at times which I do not think is really embarrassing because it happens all the time.

How do you envision your future in comedy?

I want to represent female comedians in the country.I see myself going places and countries and putting Rwanda on the map of international comedy.

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