JUST IN: From cattle herder to top comedian
Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Arts Reporter
From a cattle herder to a border jumper, to a security guard and then comedian was never an easy transformation for Prosper Ngomashi, popularly known as Comic Pastor in the showbiz industry.
Ngomashi recently posted on his social media pages informing and reminding his fans that it was not a walk in the park to be where he is now.
He confirmed the post and said the reason was to inspire people, especially now during the global pandemic that they can achieve their dreams if they focus.
In an interview, Ngomashi narrated his ordeal and was not even shy to share his road to success, although it had glitches. He said he managed to conquer and was still aiming high.
“I was a herd boy between 2002 and 2003 in Mahalapye town, Botswana, and that is when I had tried to be a cross-border trader,” he said.
“The feeling of being a herd boy was not as bad; it was an experience I never had since we could hardly visit our rural home in Dande, Guruve. But I felt like a useless person looking at the life of my former schoolmates going for advanced level and their lives looking flourishing. I started to have an inferiority complex.”
Ngomashi, who grew up in Epworth, said being a comedian did not mean that he had failed school, but it was about passion.
“All my life was bred in Epworth,” he said. “I had passed my ordinary level, but it was not easy to combine the five subjects which are prescribed. I could not go for advanced level and I feel also that was the time when O’ level was regarded as a qualification by our parents, so I was done with my education.”
Ngomashi said he later looked for a job as life was no longer rosy, before he left for South Africa for greener pastures.
“I worked as a security guard at a local company around 2007 to 2008,” he said.
He said that is when he decided to go to South Africa, but he had to jump the border because he could not afford visa fees.
“Because of the hardships of 2008, I decided to go to South Africa to look for employment,” he said. “That was the time when SA required a visa and I remember it was ZAR5 000 and being unemployed there was nowhere in the world I could get it.
“We teamed up with my friends and we crossed via Limpopo River, the scary part of the whole journey was us deciding to sleep in the game reserves just across Limpopo. We were afraid to move in the night.”
Ngomashi, who is donning dental braces to straighten his crooked teeth – aligning the upper and lower jaws, said he got arrested during the journey to South Africa.
“I got arrested in Louis Trichardt after successfully escaping all the other road blocks and we got deported after four days,” he said. “We did not have money for bus fare from Beitbridge to Harare and we ended up getting help from International Organization for Migration (IOM).
“I then got the money for a visa from a family friend mid-2008 and I then went back to South Africa officially and I stayed there for two years until 2010.
“I started working as a security guard in a fabric shop until I got promoted to stores and warehouse manager. I was promoted again to sales manager before I left in 2017.”
The comedian said he saw the gap in the comedy industry, especially on social media, and he decided to venture into it.
“I started doing skits when some mobile phones were recording quake videos,” said Ngomashi. “Maybe because I just loved being on camera, but knowing that it was difficult to penetrate the television industry, that was my only hope.
“I started filming myself with my mobile phone and sharing on social media. I became viral and suddenly now I am famous.”
Ngomashi said the comedy industry paid well if taken seriously as it could sustain livelihoods.
Asked how the lockdown has been treating them, Ngomashi said it has been a blessing in disguise since most of his work is more of social media.
Many people are glued to the social media while observing the lockdown.
“We have been blessed by God and he has been giving us grace,” said Ngomashi. “I am proud to say that we have not lacked a thing this lockdown. Currently, we are filming a web series that will be airing on NashTv.”