Do Black people really love chicken? And can they live without it?
Renowned comedian Napsta may just have the answer.
“I always tell people, chicken for Black people is not a matter of life or death, it’s much more than that,” Napsta says, as he giggles away.
“Chicken is hectic. It’s not just a favourite for Black people. It’s a favourite for Americans, Hispanics, Italians, the French, and everyone else. It’s a global problem.”
So how does Napsta manage life without chicken?
It isn’t easy that’s for sure, he says.
The local comedian recently made the decision to become vegan, and while the journey has been amazing so far, Napsta, whose real name is Napoleon Masinga, admits life without meat is tough.
“Can Black people live without chicken? Well, let's talk in two years to see how my vegan journey goes,” he says.
The comedian opens up about his vegan journey in his new International comedy special “The Black Vegan” which debuted in Johannesburg yesterday.
The comedian takes his audience through a hysterical, interactive and enlightening journey through his personal ‘Voyage to Veganism’, as a Black man in Africa.
The Saturday Star caught up with the comedian this week to chat about his new comedy show and all things vegan.
Can you tell me a little bit about your new comedy show The Black Vegan and what it’s all about ?
The Black Vegan is my brand new comedy special and tour. This is basically a journey of me sharing my experiences as a man of colour, a Black African man attempting this new way of living and dietary lifestyle called veganism and I mean I share my stories and experiences and the hilarity of trying to reconcile with these two contradicting worlds.
As you know, with people of colour, inyama is part of our traditions and so many things we do as people of colour are centred around meat, so you can imagine what happens when I arrive home and tell my mom I’m no longer having meat at the seven colours meat meal on Sunday.
You’ve become a vegan. What is that like? And why did you decide to become a vegan ?
I’m not even going to lie, this wasn’t one of those deep contemplative decisions. I was watching a Netflix documentary and I literally became vegan overnight. This documentary was saying so many things about meat and health and blah blah and I was so traumatised, I literally decided to become vegan.
I am a very impulsive person as you can see. Sometimes I feel like I need to sit down and think about my decisions before doing them. It’s been an amazing experience . I am on a journey so I’m not even going to put on record that I’m a perfect vegan. I have my mistakes, I have my cheat days, but what a beautiful challenge and lifestyle to explore.
Do you miss eating meat ? And if so, what foods do you miss eating ?
Is this a safe space? Can I confide in you guys? (laughs). Of course I miss eating meat and the most that I miss is lamb chops. O my God! Lamb chops are just the most amazing thing on this earth. I think sometimes I have nightmares of this lamb chop chasing me haha.
What are your favourite vegan foods ? And is vegan food actually nice tasting ?
I would probably say in my experience of being vegan, there are probably three staples that you find across so many dishes in veganism. These guys are the champions of the vegan movement. Number one is tofu, number two is mushrooms, and number three is avocados. Guys, as a vegan these three things are life. Yes vegan food is nice, it’s all about how you prepare your food.
There are vegans that like raw vegetables, vegans who prefer steamed vegetables, vegans who prefer fried vegetables, vegans who prefer the beyond-movement food. They are so many choices and varieties these days.
Do you reckon there’s many Black Vegans out there ? Or are you one of very few ?
Guys, it’s lonely out here haha. I’m not seeing my fellow comrades out here haha. You know it’s one of those things. Have you ever seen either when you want a car or you buy a car, suddenly you start seeing that car everywhere? It's probably the same thing I’ve experienced since becoming a Black vegan. There are so many around us, we just have never been so observant of it. So only now since exploring this new dietary lifestyle am I hearing about Black vegans.
How do you feel these days when you drive past places like KFC and Chicken Licken ?
Aaah man!! Chicken Licken Hot wings! I miss them. It’s tough out there. And I don’t know what it is, that smell that comes out of every single KFC, like it comes out of the vents, that smell can make you make a u-turn, even if you’re on your way to work and you’re late for a meeting. Yoh its tough! I take a different route to make sure I don’t pass a KFC or Chicken Licken.
Would you highly recommend becoming a vegan to other South Africans ?
Well, for once I want to get a little serious. I would probably say consult your dietician before engaging in any extreme dietary lifestyle. Consult your dietician and get your blood tested by a homeopath and see what blood group you are because there are certain blood groups that shouldn’t be vegan, so it’s very important that you do it. However you can do slow starts like meat free Mondays, be vegan on a Monday. Trust me a full day without meat will have so many benefits on your digestive system and your skin. Your body will really thank you for it.
What’s the toughest thing about being a vegan ? And what’s the best thing about being a vegan ?
I would probably say discipline is the toughest thing about being a vegan. It’s all about consistency. Also the fact that vegans have very limited restaurants. You know when you want to go out on a night out as a non-vegan person you are swimming thorough an array of choice and variety, but as a vegan you only have a handful of choices.
The best thing about being a vegan is feeling light. You start changing physically. You have better skin. Having a weak handshake haha, just joking. There are so many great benefits when it comes to being a vegan.
I understand your new show is not just about comedy. It’s also a bit of culinary experience. Can you tell me a little bit more about that ?
So, I like to refer to my comedy shows as not just shows but experiences. When you come to a Napsta show I want it to be an experience. We combine three elements at my shows, food, music and comedy. We fuse the three together to create an amazing creative and sensory experience. We have teamed up with the amazing restaurant Artistry, owned by J Something for our Joburg leg. The chef there will be preparing meals with drinks, and both vegan and non vegan dishes. Upon arrival you will have a private dinner with Napsta, and we will proceed with the comedy show. We will also have a DJ afterwards.
Your top three vegan foods are …?
Creamy vegan mushroom risotto.
Spanish vegan paella
I love curry, so the chana masala, is one of my favourites. It is this amazing chick pea curry.
Tell us your best vegan joke..
Knock Knock, who’s there? You mas? You mas who?
You must come to my show if you want to hear vegan jokes haha. Go and buy tickets haha!