A tale of two 'Gonyets'

HARARE - It was not by accident that both comedian Samantha Kureya and musician Pamela Zulu earned the moniker Gonyeti — street lingo for a big haulage truck.

They are both plus size women who have made their mark in their respective disciplines in spite of the stigma that generally befalls big women.

Samantha, who ventured into acting in 2008, was virtually unknown until she joined Bustop TV in 2015 where she teamed up with Prosper “Comic Pastor” Ngomashi and Sharon “Magi” Chideu.

Comic Pastor quit Bustop TV last year but this did not weaken Samantha’s determination to make it to the very top. Along with Sharon, better known in comedy circles as Magi, Samantha worked her way to a National Arts Merit Award (Nama) nomination in the Outstanding Comedian category, becoming the first Zimbabwean woman to achieve such a feat.

Though the award was eventually won by Q the Boss, her nomination for the award was a big endorsement.

Samantha finally landed the award she deserved when she jointly won the Zimbabwe International Women Awards (Ziwa) gong in the People’s Choice category along with fellow Bustop comedian Sharon last year.

The ever-improving Samantha, who initially made her name through skits, recently ventured into stand-up comedy. Of the Zimbabwean comedians who performed at the recent Shoko Festival 2017, Samantha was arguably the most impressive. Her performance belied the fact that she only took up stand-up comedy recently.

The Bustop comedian impressed the crowd when she hit out at popular artistes Stunner and Andy Muridzo for pretending to love big women.

“Stunner did the song Dhafu Korera but look at the person he chose to do the sex tape with ….Andy Muridzo did Chidhafu Dhunda and then did yeke with Bev,” she said to the delight of the crowd.

She also made people laugh uncontrollably when she said big women like her should be called “steakholders” because they are endowed “with a lot of flesh.”

The Bustop comedian is happy with the way her career is unfolding.

“I am happy with the journey I have travelled so far in the comedy industry. It was not an easy journey but it has been a great experience.

“When I started I never imagined I would get this far in the industry but now I have all the confidence and faith that nothing will stop me from achieving my dream of penetrating the international market,” said Samantha.

As part of her strategy of gaining a foothold outside Zimbabwe, Samantha said she will gradually incorporate jokes in English.

While things are looking up for Samantha, the same cannot be said of the other Gonyeti — Pamela — whose solo music career has not exactly kicked off on a rosy note.

Pamela quit Jah Prayzah’s Third Generation a year ago. A few weeks after leaving the Jerusarema hit-maker’s backing band, Pamela released a fairly good debut album titled One Day. A couple of months ago, she dropped her second album titled Madhin’alidhin’ali.

The response to her albums has been generally muted but she insists she will not throw in the towel.

“We are trying our best but the environment we are operating in is very tough for all artistes.  Luckily we have been getting some gigs, unlike many other artistes, but sadly music fans don’t have money to pay their way into our shows,” Pamela told the Daily News.

She concedes that she began her solo career at the most unfavourable time.

“Making a breakthrough under these challenging circumstances has not been easy but I will soldier on until I make it.

“Let’s face it, the environment we are operating under as artistes is very challenging and am not an exception. People don’t have money to spend on necessities. Whether we like it or not music is not on the list of priorities. But I will keep pushing and when the economic situation improves, I will be well-placed to flourish,” Pamela said.

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