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A SON of the soil, who recently made headlines for snatching a best actor of the year award at the South African Film and Television Awards, Siyabonga Radebe – aka Siya B – makes his way home this weekend when he stages his first one-man comedy show in Durban.
Raised in Umlazi, Chesterville and Ntuzuma townships, Radebe gained wide acknowledgment for being a prolific actor who has scored roles on TV shows like A Place Called Home, Intersections, Home Affairs, Rhythm City and Laugh Out Loud and has just recently joined famous soapie Generations. He’s had numerous theatre acting roles as well as movie appearances, of which his role in Hollywood blockbuster District 9 earned him the most rave reviews.
“When I was younger I didn’t know that you could do comedy as a profession and that people could make money from it,” he said this week. “The very first time I saw comedy was when I watched Eddie Murphy Raw as a child. At the time I didn’t know what comedy was. But that day my dad had taken me to get some movies and he allowed me to choose a movie. I just saw this guy on the cover with a mic and I thought ‘let me watch this one’…
“I remember seeing it and thinking ‘Yoh! This is nice!… you can just stand and talk and make people laugh’…
“Now at home I was the youngest and I was the entertainer, the one who always made people laugh, so when I watched Eddie Murphy, I knew I could also make people laugh.”
Radebe’s childhood intuition has proved right in his adult career which has spiralled from acting into comedy, with the actor/comedian now gaining rave reviews for his performances.
Radebe’s Smiles and Cries has toured SA and comes to Durban for the first time this week. He said it felt good to be bringing it home.
The show is a coming-of-age comedic journey touching on an array of topics from growing up in a township to living in a small room in Joburg “trying to pursue a dream”.
“When I first started writing comedy, I realised that I could write and talk about what I was going through (in life)… but over the years I’ve found the comedy stage to be one where you can explore so much.
“Most of what I do is social commentary. I mostly talk about young people and what we go through, and about family and society. I also play a bit of guitar. I use the guitar to play my father (in the show) as he used to play guitar and taught me how to play African song on guitar,” explained Radebe.
• Smiles and Cries will be hosted at the Sunzone at Suncoast Casino on June 8 and 9, and promises to “allow audiences to see Siya like they have never seen him before”. The show is brought to Durban by Gagasi 99.5 FM and eThekwini Municipality. Comedian Dusty Rich will open the show. Tickets at R100 and R120 (VIP) from Computicket.