Part dreamer, part funny guy, comedian, actor and producer Kenwyn Davids says he is well balanced. Named as the Mail and Guardians Top 200 in the category of ‘Arts and Entertainment’, he describes himself as a mix between analytic and creative. “Even my limbs are confusing, I’m cross dominant. I’m a combination of yellow and blue, which makes green. So I’m the Hulk?”
When he was about 10 years old, Davids made an off-the-cuff remark in class, and achieved his first bellyful of laughs from everyone, including his teacher. During his teen years, he spent his weekends watching a show called Comedy Showcase. Seeing local comics such as Stuart Taylor, Kurt Schoonraad, Tracy Klass and Loyiso Gola in action planted the seed for Davids.
He started a comedy club in Mitchells Plain, his hometown. Over the years, it has become a top comedy venue. Comics from all over the world have played there. Today, Davids shares the stage with comics he grew up watching, and counts them as his mentors and friends.
While he grew up in many places, Davids lived in Mitchells Plain until he was seven, and now for the past eight years, he’s back: he loves the neighbourhood for its close knit community feeling. And while people on the outside are quick to dismiss Mitchells Plain as a place of gangsterism, drugs and call centre agents, Davids is fervent in arguing that it is an environment brimming with life and talent.
Comics and actors JP Duminy, Schoonraad, Ready D and Emo Adams have all hailed from the sprawling Cape township. “If we all just stood back for a second, and looked, we’d see that we are more than what others think. This place has so much to give to the world,” Davids says.
Davids has used his comedic power, not only to show youngsters in his community that there are other career options aside from the norm, but also to help change how his community sees itself. He has used his talents to help schools, charity organisations, and religious institutions to raise funds that help keep young people off the streets. Supported by Davids, Mitchell’s Plain comics Reagan Allen and Justin Ray have both had the opportunity to play on international stages.
Where others have decided to take talent to more affluent areas, Davids is ploughing back into his community. “Comedy is for the people, laughs are not an elitist thing. Mitchells Plain, and in general, people from less affluent areas tend to laugh more.”
Davids wanted to make comedy accessible for everyone: from his neighbours in Khayelitsha, to those that live in The Towers in Sea Point, because everyone deserves to laugh.
Source: Originally published on the Mail and Guardian and written by Shaazia Ebrahim.
Note: Each year, the Mail and Guardians asks the public to nominate the most remarkable young people between the ages of 18 and 35. This year, they received 6000 nominations and out of these, only 200 were chosen. These young people are considered the best of the best and many have gone on to make significant strides in their respective fields.