From refugee to international comedian
Ak Dansat Rock shield during the interview with Juba Monitor
(Photo Mandela Nelson Denis)
By Mandela Nelson Denis
South Sudanese former refugee Akau Daniel Jambo Poundak aka Ak Dans has risen from cracking jokes in Kakuma camp to making South Sudan proud in the international scene of comedy.
Ak Dans who is making headlines in Kampala and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Ane Kansime, Daniel Omara, Pablo, Alex Muhangi and Salvador is currently the most selling South Sudanese comedian in Uganda.
The stand up comedian is currently in Juba planning his event dubbed “the woke” refugee.
Speaking to Juba Monitor, Ak Dans revealed that the journey has not been easy.
Dans is so appreciative to the Ugandan comedians who did all they would to nature the comedy talent in him.
“The Ugandan comedians have been so nice to me, they taught me how to be a great comedian, corrected me where I went wrong and gave me the platforms to perform in their shows within and outside Kampala,” he said.
AK Dans(squatting next to a lady) with a group of Uganda’s top comedians in Kampala
According to Ak Dans, his breakthrough as a comedian came in 2017 when he performed at the comedy files in Kampala.
From then several comedy gigs kept coming in and giving me the chance to pay my fees and clear other bills through comedy,” he said.
Ak Dans told Juba Monitor that he moved to Kampala in 2004 where he studied and developed his comedy talent.
With sixteen years in Uganda, AK Dans mingles and giggles in the streets of Kampala and Uganda is his second home after South Sudan.
He said one Ugandan comedian called Herbert Bios discovered the comedy talent in him.
Through comedy Ak Dans has been able to travel to Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and in May he will be doing comedy in Botswana.
Ak Dans revealed that each time he performs in any international comedy show; the crowd keeps wondering and asking questions whether he is from South Sudan.
“I performed in the Churchill Show in Kenya which is the biggest comedy show in Kenya with over four thousand people. I was amazing and I killed it,” said Ak Dans.
Being an orphan,Ak Dans said he taught himself working hard in order to make ends meet, adding that if he does not do so no one will fend for him.
“I lost both my parents at a tender age and this taught me self-discipline and respect for others because without the above one cannot make it in life,” AK Dans stressed.
Being a foreign comedian in Uganda comes with challenges. He said some people do not believe in him, but he is gradually building with his foreign colleagues in the industry.
Sharing on how to develop the home comedy industry, Ak Dans said he loves the quick development of the South Sudan comedy industry, though he notes that it lacks creativity and professionalism.
“Our home comedy industry is moving well but all we need is creativity and professionalism. Most of our comedians are not professionals in their game,” he said.
Ak Dans who is an Information and Communication Technology student at Kampala International University Uganda also encouraged South Sudanese comedians to take education as a must.
“I have heard home comedians crack jokes in Juba Arabic which is good but that will be hard for them to go international. They have to take education seriously,” he stressed.
Balancing music with politics
Artist Peter Lokale aka Born and a leader Jie Community
(photo by Mandela Nelson Denis)
A 20-year-old artist, Peter Lokale who is also the Chief administrator of Jie community in Kapoeta State is embroiled in music and politics.
The artist who is known by his “Born Leader” stage name said with the help of his musical talent, exercising good politics has become easy in his community.
“I use my music to spread message of peace to the community,” he said.
He is also known for his hit song Gebillia that aims at discouraging tribalism among communities.
According to Born Leader, he often spares two hours every day to write and compose songs. He said this has never interfered with his daily scheduled in public office.
“I always wake up at 5 o’clock every morning to review my music and compose my songs and by 8:00 am I am ready in the office to serve my people,” said Peter.
Born leader has so for released five songs and currently working on a new album that contains twelve songs.
He said being a famous singer in his state has always made it easy for his message to reach the community as quick as possible.
Peter said that each time he interacts with the locals they remember the message in the songs.
“My dual career has made it easy for me to spread the message of peace to the people because they become so attentive in any gathering that I participate in,” Born leader said.
The artist has a music studio in Kapoeta where he hits the recording time after work.
He said time for work is for work saying he always ensure that he does one job at a time. “I have never mixed music with the community work that demands outcome at the end,” Born leaders said.
For a song like Gebillia that brought Born leader to Juba to shoot the video was a song he produced during his free time
He said he decided to use his official time in Juba to shoot the video of the song.
“I am in Juba for official visit and when my management brought the idea of shooting the video I welcomed it and did it in the evening hour meaning that I still have time to do what brought me here,” Born leader explained.
Music is talent that Born leader believes was given to him by God and he said that he never disappoint his creator.
He said appointment as the Chief administrative officer of Jie Community came at a time he was already in the music industry.
Meet the S.Sudanese music star in Kampala
Jimmy Arabu during photo-shoot on the streets of Kampala
Jimmy Arabu hails from Yambio. He is currently sharing the crowded air waves of Ugandan music industry with his videos and audios.
The singer who has about seven videos being requested in the leading Television stations in Kampala and in the East Africa countries said that many people ask him whether he hails from South Sudan given his light skin physical appearance.
Jimmy who has been hosted on Uganda’s television stations such as Nation Television(NTV), NBS TV, Urban TV said people refer to call him as “sebo”, a local dialect meaning for a male person.
Jimmy Arabu during an interview with NTV Tv in Kampala
Speaking over four languages such as Zande, Arabic, Kiswahili and Luganda has given an easy pass for Jimmy’s music to the air waves of Ugandan music industry.
Jimmy moved to Kampala in 2009 as a student and in 2016 he started the journey of making his music known by sending his songs to the radio and TV stations in Kampala.
“When I came to Kampala, I started off by distributing my songs to all the stations within Kampala and it was received well by the fans and then I realized that I can do better musically,” he said.
Doing urban music made it easy for him to be noticed in the city because “urban music is the trend in every city across the world.”
Jimmy had the chance to feature in Bennie Gunter and Spice Diana’s show in Kampala in January this year.
He rose to fame with his warrior single before dropping several hits such as good girl,diva,I like you, oweyoo,get down, slow down and bera bera.
Amongst his songs, good girl is the most requested song on both radio and TV stations in Kampala, he said.
Jimmy’s first ever show was last year on Christmas Day at Light Club attracting majority of Ugandans, Kenyans and South Sudanese.
Back home, Jimmy has performed at Kili-Kili Ana comedy extra weekly show last year.