You have either met this guy or heard about him if you live in Rwanda. Arthur Nkusi is a famous and versatile comedian who induces a smile from all people that meet him regardless of their social backgrounds. A variously gifted and self-made man he is that if you meet him for the first time you will get lost for words and just laugh endlessly.
Nkusi, a radio presenter, contemporary dancer, comedian, producer and actor doesn’t believe in putting all his eggs in one basket. It is this philosophy that explains why he is everything in the leisure industry.
Taarifa’s Fiona Muthoni had a one-on-one with him recently and she describes him as a hilarious, rib-cracking comedian whose contribution to Rwanda’s leisure industry over the years is outstanding.
At first sight, his height and slight frame might make you second-guess his abilities but do not be fooled.
Artist Nkusi is one of the pioneers of the Rwandan comedy industry boasting of a seven-year experience. Endowed with agility, sandwiched with rare passion for his job, Nkusi goes an extra mile in his performances and even then he always leaves his fans wanting more.
Nkusi and a few other Rwandan comedians are the brains behind the Comedy Knight group, which promotes this fast growing industry.
The group puts up a weekly comedy show at Galaxy Hotel, which is aired every Sunday on the national telecaster, a platform for upcoming comedians through which they showcase their talents.
They also mentor the young comedians among other responsibilities of this group.
During the interview he pauses as he recalls his childhood memories. He is visibly submerged in tantrums of disgust and on impulse he says, “My childhood was muddled and without direction”
“When I was young I thought I had no talent and I was like very dry…. no idea to cling on; that was me,” he recalls.
He says that despite all his achievements as a “creative” [as he likes to call himself], it was not always smooth sailing and he never had his life planned out.
“I had no talent. I grew up with my brothers who were obscenely talented at dancing and singing and I was just there…I did not know what to do with myself.”
Nkusi further recalls that at the age of ten it was when he dreamt of being a famous actor; to walk in his father’s footsteps.
He believes that his life is an example of what it means to be consistent, hardworking and passionate.
He chose to become a comedian because by then comedy was not a common art in Rwanda and he wanted something that will challenge him.
“I want to be a legend. I want to be remembered. I chose comedy because it is a smart art that only a few can do.”
His skits relate to people from all walks of life, and he paints their world in a humorous way. One of his many radio names is ‘the doctor of broken hearts’ because he believes that comedy is a therapy that gets to heal people from being sad, hurt or even heart broken by changing their moods and their thought process.
As much as he is in the arts industry, Arthur still believes that education plays a crucial role in adding quality and relevance to what he does.
“Education is important in all aspects of life and in comedy, it helps us in making smart jokes instead of just predictable jokes… Depending on who my audience is, I can make either.”
Recently Nkusi started a comedy tour eh calls ‘Ijoro rya Rutura’ that will reach all Rwandan Provinces with the aim to expand the comedy audience and take it closer to the people.
Moreover, he believes that for the comedy industry in Rwanda to become competitive in the regional market, Rwandans have a big role in it.
The main thing is that they have to understand what comedy is all about, and once it has been grasped, the industry will grow gradually with the support of the people.
“The purpose of my comedy tours is to familiarize all Rwandans with comedy. We do most shows in Kigali and now it is time to take it to the people and hope more people in the country will grow to understand it.”
Nkusi acknowledges that there are milestones to celebrate in the Rwandan comedy industry though there is a daunting task ahead that calls for concerted efforts by all stakeholders for it to be competitive in the region.
Check on this site on Sunday evening for a full Video Interview