Problem Masau Arts Correspondent
Comedian Edgar Langeveldt has performed in front of presidents, kings, pastors, government officials and respected dignitaries yet controversy trails him like a shadow. His colourful performance history has often been tainted by mismanagement, misconduct and negligence.
These dark colours of his character and conduct have threatened his career and saw him playing second fiddle to a new crop of comedians yet he is regarded as the godfather of Zimbabwean comedy.
At the peak of his career, Langeveldt got international acclaim but has been losing ground over the last couple of years.
In 2005, he was awarded 25 000 euros by Prince Claus Fund for his work but he has always evaded questions on how he spent the money.
Opportunities have slipped through his fingers and commercial deals left his doorstep. Langeveldt has been banned from performing at Book Cafe and a local casino he used to frequent because of his character.
He seems oblivious of the harm such controversy has brought to his career and claims he enjoys being controversial.
“Great minds are always controversial. Andy Brown was controversial. Thomas Mapfumo is controversial. Even in football, Luis Suarez is controversial but he keeps on scoring goals.
“I am also controversial but I am good at what I do. The next generation will appreciate my work,” he said with a chuckle.
It seems he cannot separate his stage antics from real life. He claims to have several wives and boldly declares his love for pubs.
“I visit churches and I come out. I visit bars then I do not come out. So I guess I belong to bars.”
Several attempts to revamp his career have proven fruitless. The comedian is on another comeback campaign and lined up a number of shows.
Due to a multitude of misfortunes and challenges, Langeveldt says he has learnt to make fun of many issues in life to lighten his emotional burdens.
“I cannot separate my life and my career as a comedian. Everything is intertwined because I end up turning the challenges I face every day into comedy.”
He said his challenges are not unique as they are common to many people.
“I am a Zimbabwean; I face challenges that befall any ordinary Zimbabwean. I face accommodation challenges. I face electricity challenges. I am also heartbroken about the state of our football.”
One thing was clear from the onset of the interview. Langeveldt and another popular comedian Carl Joshua Ncube are sworn enemies.
“I do not want to see him near my shows. Likewise, I was also banned from attending his shows. He declared war by intending to take my throne. It is a war and I do not have kind words for him.”
The two have taken their “war” to social media where they trade insults. Born in 1969, Langeveldt has been a comedian for several decades and says he has never worked in any other industry.
“I am employed by a fool and idiot called Mr Langeveldt. I have never worked for someone in my entire life.
“Initially I wanted to be a judge or lawyer. I found myself with two choices, either to be a judge or condemn people to many years in prison or to be a stand-up comedian who soothes the heart and soul of many. I being Edgar, I chose to entertain people.”
Langeveldt has engaged a new manager to try and regain his ground in local comedy. After some local shows, he is expected to tour Europe and South Africa to reach out to his international fans.