17 May 2016

BBAfrica's Arthur Nkusi - 'I Became A Comedian Because No One Was Doing It In Rwanda'

Arthur Nkusi aka 'Rutura' is both a radio and TV presenter (at Kiss FM and Royal TV respectively). He is also an MC and choreographer with Mashirika. 

The comedian was born in Uganda on January 22, 1990 and came to Rwanda at the age of 5. He studied at La Colombiere Primary school and joined Lycee de Kigali where he completed his secondary education in 2009.

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After two years at the National University of Rwanda, he changed to Mount Kenya University where he did a one-year course in broadcast journalism. 

He has acted in international movies like Shooting Dogs (2005), Shake Hands with the Devil (2007) and Operation Turquoise. He talked to The Rwanda Focus and shared his journey from a joking kid to a comedian.

When did you join comedy industry?
Many people didn't know me as Arthur the comedian until I became a radio presenter in 2012 at KFM. I was doing 'The Rush Hour' program but also had my own comedy show [on the same radio] where I used to imitate local artists.

Who inspired you to become a comedian and how successful is your career so far?
Well, I became a comedian not because someone inspired me but because I realized that no one in Rwanda was doing comedy. I once attended a comic theatre called 'Umuvunyi' at Ishusho Art Centre organized by Carol Karemera in 2010. From there, my two friends and I decided to do comedy as a career. Six years on, I still have a lot to learn.

As to my success, I can only say it is now at 40% according to my target. My level is upping and I have already performed with different East African comedians.

And although I didn't go to Big Brother Africa as a comedian, it boosted my confidence. The furthest level I want to reach is where everybody will say 'a [comedy] legend has gone!' when I die.

Talking of Big Brother, what was experience like?
Big Brother Africa was an interesting journey for me. Everyone in the house was a star - TV presenters, musicians, actors and actresses, fashion designers... all were there with poor me. Some were there for the prize money and others for fame. For instance Macky 2 (Mulaza Kaira) is among the top five richest Zambians so he was there for fame just like me. My interesting part was working under pressure. I have never fully utilized my ability the way I did in BBA. My experience from Mashirika helped in executing tasks such as dancing and acting.

Any regrets?
None right now. I've been an artist since childhood until today as I am having this interview.

What has been your happiest moment of all?
Going in Big Brother Africa was an amazing experience.

And your biggest success?
I have my own company and I present TV program which puts food on my table; I have a planned career.

Are there any opportunities you got because of your comic talent?
Most of my life is based on arts. Radio stations recruit me because I am a comedian. I can say the same of Royal TV. So I respect comedy because my success in life depends on it.

Where would you rank Rwanda in the comedy industry?
Rwandans are funny and other comedians testify to it. But the number is still a small compared to other countries. If more people - including females - could engage in comedy, Rwanda would be on top.

What challenges do you face in your career?
I have too many things to do. Comedy performances, radio shows, writing jokes, serving Mashirika theatre group, time to spend on showbiz media... it is obviously difficult to get even a single free minute for myself. Sometimes you feel drained.

Another challenge is that comedy in our country is too small in terms of money and this fails our shows. Besides, more people are interested in music rather than comedy. Sponsors, too, believe more in music than in comedy.

With all those challenges, where do you see your future with comedy?
I continue to dream big as a comedian. I am now big and many in East Africa know who I am. My dream is definitely is to become a continental comedian because I love being the best in what I do. I also dream of making 'The Soft Talk' a legendary TV talk show.

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