The true story behind Baba Tencen ‘Kuripwa’ Kugara


WHAT started off as a joke that he passed during lunch hour at his workplace as a “garden boy” has seen him grow to be one of finest comedians that any Zimbabwean would marvel at watching.

Popularly known by his moniker Baba Tencen, Pepukai Zvemhari, an online comedian is probably what any Zimbabwean wanting comic relief would listen to anytime.

In an interview with Sunday Life, Zvemhari said he was shocked at the way his video he recorded with a 5140 Nokia phone in 2006 went viral and made him popular in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

He said he started off as a garden boy and because of his educational credentials, he was promoted to maintain lights at a hotel owned by his boss in Pretoria, South Africa.

“I started off as a garden boy in South Africa and I recorded my first clip during lunch time. I then sent it to my cousin, with no aim of getting to be a popular person. He then sent it to other people and hence my rise to fame and people demanded more of my videos. During the time, things were also working out for me and I was promoted to work at a hotel that was owned by my boss as I had eight Ordinary Level passes,” he said.

Like any other Zimbabwean who faced the pinch of the economic meltdown during the 2006 era, his video touched many people and gave his audience a glimmer of hope that the country would stand on its feet again.

Zvemhari said at one point in time he was afraid of coming back to Zimbabwe but then recorded another clip that preached unity among Zimbabweans.

“I tell you, I was so afraid of coming back to Zimbabwe when I recorded my first clip. But people were already demanding more of my clips and it’s really amazing how most Zimbabweans and even South Africans on the street would praise me,” he said.

With very few Zimbabweans making it in the arts fraternity in South Africa, Zvemhari said he left his menial job at the hotel to concentrate on comedy that would support his family and three children.

“I do not regret leaving my job at all. Comedy is really paying off for me and I must admit that I took a risk that has eventually paid off for me, thanks to my friend and manager Tendai Joe. I support my family and children with what I do,” he said.

Already, Zvemhari’s comic skills are set to take the comedian to the United Kingdom and China.

He said he hoped to attract a wider audience.

“We are set to start doing comedy in more languages and I have also been booked to overseas this year,” he said.

Zvemhari hails from Chivi, Masvingo province and is a comedian based in South Africa populary known for his Kuripwa Kugara video clips that have over the years made him popular in Zimbabwe.

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  • Murangatangawejaha

    Thanks for sharing ba Tencen story with us. He is really one of the best comedians in the world. I really like his clips and i want to believe i have just few of many.