In spite of Mark Zuckerberg and company having made serious money out of social media, to most people in Zimbabwe the business opportunities contained on platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp remain remote and alien.
In this country the platforms are mostly used by people and organisations to develop their brands as a complement to mainstream media. Many latent creatives have found it an outlet for their talents with many jokes, animation clips and dramas being freely published and circulated for public consumption, with little thought of remuneration for their efforts.
But perhaps that is about to change as a personality whose brand was established and grown on social platforms is now coming into mainstream media with a lucrative bang. What started off as a pastime activity has turned into serious business for Uncle Ritchie who is now up for huge endorsements as companies jostle to sign the comedian for their radio and television commercial.
Uncle Ritchie born Richard Matimba some 30 years ago is now considering taking up comedy on a full time basis.
"Things are going on well for me and I have had to drop small time businesses to focus on more lucrative events where I'm paid to make people laugh. The demand is so high that sooner rather than later I'm going to be a full time emcee and comedian all in one," he said with a chuckle.
Since profiling the multi-talented comic last week The Herald Entertainment has been inundated with calls from blue chip companies seeking to speak to Uncle Ritchie. It appears that they have a view of using him for different media brand endorsements.
Uncle Ritchie confirmed that his life was about to change for good if the deals come to fruition. Although he would not give names of those he is in talks with, he was upbeat.
"Well at this point I cannot say which companies have approached me because we are still to finalise the contracts. However, the good think is there is quite a number of companies," Uncle Ritchie said. He said he was being invited as an emcee or just to throw pranks at private functions.
"Some people prefer old jokes while others want new ones so depending on requests I do whatever people want me to do," he said.
His rise to fame was when he did the "Zvirikumbofamba sei?" and "Mudeacon Bhebhe" jokes while to others it was the "Zim-Asset" joke. So popular are his jokes on several social media including WhatsApp that most people have his recordings on their mobile phones. In "Zviri kumbofamba sei" his style consists of pure humorous nonsense like people getting their heads clean shaven at the butchery and really serious issues of the need for serious grassroots based representation in Parliament. Uncle Ritchie plays the part of a person who is seeing it all through a kaleidoscope that is constantly shaken so he never gets what is going on.
In "Zim-Asset" he starts off by explaining that the majority of the populace does not understand the economic turnaround blue print that the country's economy hinges on. So he starts explaining it in a series of bunkum and misrepresentations.
"Ini ndinonyatsoinzwinzisisa ndakanyatsotanga kuiziva nekuti nezuro ndakavhiringika zuva rese ndichishaya kuti inombonyatsorevei . . . Motongondivhoterawo kuti pamwe ndingaite minister we ZimAsset kuti munhu wese akwanise kuiwana nekuti ndichafamba - ndichigovera munhu wese Zim-Asset. (I am a guru in ZimAsset which I got to fully understand yesterday after I spent the whole day trying to figure it out, while the meaning eluded me. I am appealing for everyone's vote so that I can become the Minister of ZimAsset. I will assure that everyone gets a piece of it as I will be going around to each and everyone to give them ZimAsset.)"