2 May 2013

Rwanda: Meet the Male Comedian Who Takes Pride in Feminine Roles

The 22-year-old comedian, whose real name is Damascène Simubara, has defied odds to take feminine roles in acting. He has proved his versatility as a comedian.

Born in a family of six, two brothers and three sisters, Kaboss lost his parents at a very tender age. His first experience in acting was in primary 5 when the school principal asked him to entertain the school during the closing ceremony. "I was a bit nervous but I later relaxed when I saw the entire school laughing at my jokes' he recalls

He cannot forget an incident in the village that left him cracking "I had just finished milking our cow and was holding the milk container ready to leave for the house. For reasons I have never explained, I decided to hold the cow's tail.

What followed will always remain etched at the back of my mind; the cow gave me a beating, using its back foot that sent me walking on all fours. The milk spilt but not before I suffered a deep cut on my nose. Despite the fact that I was hurt, I could not stop laughing." he narrates between bouts of laughter.

Upon completing his primary education, he left his village in Nyamata, Eastern Rwanda and headed to the city. At first, life in Kigali was not easy for him and many times he considered going back to the village.

Just before throwing in the towel, fate led him to World Mission School located near Kagugu shopping centre in Kinyinya sector where he enrolled for secondary education. Acting has always had a place in his life and he immediately joined the drama team.

He immediately discovered that his fellow students lacked enthusiasm for acting and decided to prove to his peers that it was something honorable.

It was while in senior 2 that he surprised his classmates by acting as a lady. While on stage he was overwhelmed by the audience reactions. He vowed to follow that route.

"I realised that there are very few ladies interested in acting as comedians. Most of them are too shy to tell jokes. I grabbed the opportunity and to my amazement, my performance sent the audience into ecstasies, "he adds.

Kaboss' feminine role spread like bush fire in the neighborhood and before long he was getting requests to act in social events.

Despite the fact that his small earnings helped him put food on the table and pay rent, it was not enough to cater for his school fees. It was while in senior 5 that he dropped out of school due to accumulated fees arrears.

In 2011, he teamed up with two of his friends to establish Imanzi Family Comedian, which means the uncorrupted ones. They now boast membership of twenty-five dedicated actors.

The group is involved in different activities "We have done a number of comedies most of which I acted as a lady. This Friday, I will join the Rwandan songbird Knowless Butera at Blue Star Club in Kagugu for the much-waited performance," he explains.

Kaboss has also appeared in several adverts "Most of the adverts that I have done are projected on various big screens in Kigali. It's my hope that, I will soon be a popular face on the Rwandan Television sets," he says

He acknowledges there are many challenges in film industry. "We have many limitations in film, like equipments but we don't have limitations in talent. We have plenty of talented youth"

Last year, Kaboss met Kayintakore Ndjori a.k.a Kanyombya, a popular Rwandan comedian and the two easily connected. "I met Kanyombya in 2012 and we have acted together in different projects" he explains

He says that Kanyombya's popularity stems from his talent and the fact that he has been in the industry for a longer period.

And why is Kaboss a crowd puller? "I believe my fake breasts, hairdo, makeup and enhanced buttocks do the miracle. In addition my fake bald makes me funnier for men's role," he explains.

He's currently working with Kanyombya on publicity for Techno Mobile a contract that will earn him at least three hundred dollars.

Kaboss's future is very bright "In five years time, I will be a professional comedian running a well-established company" he reveals.

His lowest moment in life, was the loss of his parents. "These are the people who molded me as a kid. I had a lot of fun with in the village. We used to have lengthy discussions about my future," he says softly leaning back on a chair and gazing away: "these are memories I hold fondly."

Idrissa Munyakazi, the president of youth in Kinyinya sector has interacted with the comedian, "I met Kaboss in 2008, and he is an easy guy to work with. He always put a smiling face despite the circumstances and I believe his future is very bright," he explains

His role model is President Paul Kagame who he believes, unlike many African leaders, has pushed for affirmative action and gender balance is reflected in his government. He also lauds the president's regular visits to the grassroots to listen to people's plight.

Internationally, Nelson Mandela inspires him, "Mandela has a big heart for Africa and unlike many African leaders he was not a despot," he says

To have the industry flourish he suggests that local artists work together before government can fully recognise the industry.

Apart from acting, Kaboss loves dancing, soccer, reading books and newspapers.

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