21 September 2017

Rwanda: Meet Kibonge, the Comic With a Gospel Touch

Emmanuel Mugisha, better known by his stage name Clapton Kibonge is regarded as one of the most influential satirical gospel comedians in the country.

Kibonge started his comedy career at the tender age of 14. He appeared in several local TV and radio shows like Ramjaane on defunct Lemigo TV, Barber shop on TV 10, and in different TV series like Byadogereye and Seburikoko that earned him popularity as a teen.

Apart from comedy, Kibonge has been into acting as well. He is also an emcee and gospel artiste with a number of songs to his name like Fata telephone Mana, and Muri Yesu Harimo Goût, among others.

In his free time, Kibonge performs in Churches, at gospel conferences and youth workshops. The multi-talented comedian believes that as a Christian, he has to distinguish between being a comedian and staying truthful and respectful to his faith.

"Laughing makes you live longer and healthier. It's the reason why I have to preach the gospel but at the same time heal the wounded souls through comics," he says.

Kibonge had a knack for performing comedy, since childhood and he would perform in front of his family members and peers, mimicking people.

"I started performing skits in school theatres and churches, where I could mimic characters in the Bible, for example Isaac," he said.

Kibonge is the eldest in the family of seven children.

He attended Nyamata High School in the Eastern province, where he was considered as the best entertainer in school. He is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in Science and technology at University of Kigali.

His father is a renowned pastor at Assemblies of God Church in Kigali, where his mother also serves as a minister.

"As a christian, I never wanted to exploit my talent outside church values," he says.

The 29-year-old standup comedian is positive about the growth of the local comedy industry, and he believes that in future Rwandans will begin to appreciate and support the home grown talent.

He cites Charlie Chaplin and Chris Rock as his favourite international comedians.

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