Tumi Morake is the poster child for #BerekaMosadi. As one of the women who broke down the doors for women of colour to own stages in stand-up comedy, she never seems to rest on her laurels. Whether on TV, theatres overseas or taking on racists on radio, Morake is working.
When we meet again, she is, of course, working. She is conducting print, radio and TV interviews all day since she has been announced as one of 47 comedians who are a part of Netflix’s Comedians of the World.
The streaming service recruited four Mzansi comics - Morake, Loyiso Madinga, Riaad Moosa and Loyiso Gola - to represent South Africa. Comedians of the World premiered globally on Tuesday, January 1, and is available on Netflix.
After a phenomenal 2018, I ask Morake how badly she needs a holiday.
“Oh, my gosh!” We just spoke about that,” she says, pointing to the publicists in the room with us. “And I need a real holiday - not one where you must still make your bed and make eggs in the morning. I need the kind of holiday where food is delivered to you. If I could get someone to take me to the loo and bath me, I’d even take that.”
On her episode, which was filmed in Montreal, she pokes fun at wealthy people who think they’re giving back to starving kids in Africa. She uses her experiences to illustrate what fat-shaming does to recipients of insults and those spewing them. She also bravely and brilliantly explores the idea that motherhood isn’t for everyone. Fittingly, her episode is titled (Un)domesticated Issues.
“I’ve been accused of being undomesticated,” Morake says, then giggles. “It’s funny because it’s from people who haven’t seen me in my home. I’m an unconventional mother, wife and woman in the sense that I refuse to be ‘in my place’ and refuse to speak the way I ‘should’ speak.”
In the special, she insists that she is not a natural mother but a fertile woman.
“There are women who do not have children but they are so motherly and feel like natural mothers. They are so patient with children and are at home in that environment of poop and vomit. Whereas I am like: Who can I pay to handle this part for me?”
“In this case, my husband is raising me and my kids. I love my kids but I don’t love kids in general. Aaaaaah, kidding.
“Seriously, I wanted to talk about this to highlight to women how much we judge ourselves and how hard we can be on ourselves when it comes to motherhood.
“I don’t say it because I think I am a terrible parent. If we go with the textbook definition of what a mother is, then I tend to feel like I’m not that because I’m not busy lying about how amazing or perfect it is. I pick at the imperfections.”
Whether it’s motherhood, weight gain or politics, Morake is not shy to share her truths. She says the desire to do so is because a lot of those truths are universal.
“We all have such similar experiences, regardless of where we’re from. And it’s nice to be able to share that.”
Watch Morake in Comedians of the World on Netflix.