In Wandegeya, traffic noise cuts through an equally noisy atmosphere as revellers settle down to their drinks.
In Wandegeya, traffic noise cuts through an equally noisy atmosphere as revellers settle down to their drinks. Sunset is enjoyed by many over chilled drinks, to while away the humidity that controls most of the day.
A funny old man steps forward. His fascinating demeanour is exhilarating. He greets revellers with due respect, and accompanies the greeting with funny news briefs: â€œTwo people died in an accident that occurred yesterday morning on Bwaise Road, when two trucks carrying red ants collided,â€ he says amidst laughter.
The comedian stretches his necktie, made of banana fibre and pats his artificial beard to draw the crowdâ€™s attention. Suddenly, he turns round and wiggles his exaggerated bottom, which sends folks in bouts of laughter.
Godfrey Ntanzi alias Dikuula, 45, is an accomplished comedian, who plies suburb routes to make a quick buck. His nickname has roots from the fact that he sings funny songs, reads funny news and mimics politicians, to earn a living. Wherever a crowd has gathered, they must collect sh1,000, before Dikuula can unleash one of his pranks. Judging from the crowd, there is no doubt he is popular.
Dikuula says he dropped out of school in his early secondary school days and teamed up with Mr. Augustine Matovu, the headmaster of Vincent Alex Primary School, Mukono. Matovu was his prime sponsor, until he got absorbed in private business. Dikuulaâ€™s dream had been to start a drama school, but he lacked funds. However, he kept on the road and persisted in entertaining revellers in different places.
Dikuula says his dream has been for his career to reach international standards. â€œI have always wanted to be an international comedian,â€ he says. â€œMy main purpose is to entertain and teach children and, of course, earn a living. I inform people through my funny songs and comedies. Many of my comedies do teach the public, especially children,â€ explains Dikuula.
In the early 60s, he dreamt of becoming a serious musician, his inspiration being Bob Marley, but his poor background let him down. He could not get money to study or start a serious career. However, he still has hopes of making it. He says he will oust the Zambian comedian, Ben Phiri, whom he admires.
Dikuulaâ€™s shows are full of delight and everyone gets to enjoy. Dikuula says his dress-code is what markets him â€” his torn trousers, exaggerated bum, his artificial beard and neck-tie from banana fibre.
His drama is accompanied by dance and this works the crowd to climax. It is at this point that Dikuula decides it time to leave. So strategic is he, forknows the crowd will scream â€œEncore!â€ And thus time to earn an extra sh1,000. Dikuulaâ€™s fame has grown in the suburbs, and to his irritation, many Dikuulas have cropped up, robbing him of his trademark style. However, he has plans of redeeming his image.
Some people think Dikuula is nuts and they step aside, when they see coming their way. Surprise? Dikuula is a normal chap. So normal, that he even has a wife and two children. He has a home in Kalerwe, on Gayaza Road.
Does he believe he is funny? â€œOf course I am,â€ Dikuula responds. â€œBut I have always had the wrong audience. I have never had anyone to tell me, you are the best, the funniest. I just see them laughing,â€ he says.
The money he makes, is never reflected in his life. He lives a simple life â€” drinks tonto (a local banana brew), walks about looking for crowds to entertain, then walks all the way, back home, to cool his feet.
Even after 30 years in the business that does not pay him well. he still makes appearances at the bars and crowded places where he started out. Sometimes he strolls to high class joints, which he exploits optimally, after the rich have become tipsy.
Although Dikuula is a comedian of the old generation, FM radio stations have adopted his style for their audiences through the likes of Kalisoliso and Kaibanda of CBS, and Amooti of Simba FM. However, this competition does not scare Dikuula, because he is looking for a sponsor to promote his talent.
Of his disappointment in his career, Dikuula says: â€œPeople like my shows, but nobody has ever approached me to film my work.â€ Ends