Seven Joe Slovo boys have started their own comedy group and are finding that laughter really is the best medicine when it comes to dealing with some of life’s hardships.
Ahlume Bhenya, a 13-year-old Marconi Beam Primary School pupil, came up with the idea for the group.
“I told my brother we should start doing skits because the things we discuss all the time when we’re just chilling, I thought it could be funny content to record,” he says.
His brother, 12-year-old Linathi is part of the group along with fellow Marconi Beam Primary School pupils Nqobile Yolwa, 11, Kamva Mphumanto, Liyema Ngaka and Akhanya Guxa, who are all 12, and Lutho Bhasa, who is 13.
Calling themselves the Siqale Performing Group, the boys make up sketches and write their own scripts.
Linathi says that all their parents are very supportive of them.
“As long as we don’t let this interfere with our school work, our parents are fine with it. We just try to do our videos after school or on the weekends,” he says.
The boys are being helped by community leader Sibongile Kofi. He helps share their videos on social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube. The boys say Mr Kofi is a mentor to them for the selfless things he does for his community. They have made a video, which is doing the rounds on Facebook and WhatsApp, which shows the boys talking about how guys gossip just as much as girls.
Also in the video, Liyema claims he won R1 million in the Lotto the previous night. Needless to say, the other boys don’t believe a word he says and it gets hilarious when they ask him to repeat the winning numbers. Mr Kofi helps them distribute their videos on these platforms and plans to create a YouTube channel for the boys’ content.
The videos they do are shot and directed by Ahlume and Kamva does the editing.
Kamva says he learnt how to edit by watching YouTube tutorials. They shot their footage on one of the boy’s phones.
Linathi says they hope to get better equipment one day to follow their passion.
“This is something we want to take seriously because we have so many ideas, but we are sometimes limited by the equipment we have or don’t have. We want to appeal to the community or whoever would like to help, to not hesitate. We want to see where we can take this passion of ours.”
Vuyiswa Bhenya, Ahlume and Linathi’s mother, says that she would never stand in the way of what her kids are trying to do.
“There are many problems here like drugs, crime and sometimes we have children walking and crossing dangerous roads to get to the beach. I am happy these kids are choosing to do something constructive. It keeps them busy and out of trouble. As long as this doesn’t interfere with their school duties, I’m okay with it. I’m really happy about this.”
The boys say they hope to show that while Joe Slovo has its fair share of problems, the neighbourhood is not all doom and gloom and that there are wonderful things happening there.