Liya cracks up audience with his vernac jokes

Liyabona Nqaba aka Liya Nqaba, Siyabulela Dili known as Ta Fire with Mandis Sindo who owns Khayelitsha Art School Institute and Rehabilition Centre in Zwezwe.

Laughter and applause reverberated through the walls of Khayelitsha Art School Institute and Rehabilitation Centre in Zwezwe when well-known comedians performed in a free comedy show.

Liyabona Nqaba aka Liya Nqaba, Siyabulela Dili known as Ta Fire and other local comedians cracked up the audience with their jokes and funny stories.

The comedians said they had been booked to perform in Site C two weeks ago but due to issues beyond their control, they had arrived late and were unable to perform.

So, they opted to host a free show to apologise to their fans who had bought the tickets.

Headline act Liya, 26, said he had never thought that he would be a comedian as he was a shy person who did not like being in the spotlight.

But, he said, a number of people had told him he was funny and suggested he pursue comedy as a career.

He told Vukani that after completing matric in 2013, financial constraints prevented him from studying further.

After having worked in different jobs, in 2016, he decided to give comedy a go.

His big break came in 2017 after he uploaded his videos to Facebook and soon doubled his number of followers. Liya said as he started making more videos, he started focusing on how he conceptualised them, and equipped himself with more knowledge of comedy so that he could improve his performances.

In Klerksdorp where is from, he said, few people were doing stand-up comedy and that was also a key motivation to pursue it. But most importantly, he said, he made a conscious decision to perform strictly in Xhosa and be known as a vernac comedian.

Apart from being able to expresse himself more elloquently in his home language, he said, he also wanted to demonstrate that people don’t have to make jokes in English to crack it in the industry.

“I want to be among well respected comedians I want to travel around the world. I want to assist up-and-coming comedians to improve their craft. We hosted the show to apologise to our fans here in Cape Town.

“People should know that we are never bigger than them.

“The reason that we get booked is because of the love and support they show us. Without them we are nothing.

“I am who I am today because of the love that people gave me and I will never ever forget that,” he said. Ta Fire echoed his sentiments that the love that people gave them had helped them flourish. The 23-year-old said he started doing comedy in 2015 but then took a break. He also started uploading videos to Facebook and that was how he cracked it and made a name for himself in the industry.