September 2016 -

Sep 4


South Africa confirmed its place on the cutting edge of comedy last night, as 10 of South Africa’s funniest citizens walked away with the most prestigious award local comedy has to offer – a beautifully crafted Waldo statuette.

The SAVANNA Comics’ Choice Awards® – produced by John Vlismas and Taffia Keight, and directed by Rob van Vuuren – featured not only the cream of local comedy but also funnymen from the rest of the continent, and had audiences ROFLing from the outset.

“This year’s show was entirely scripted by a team of comic writers, led by Warren Robertson, who approached us and wanted to be part of the awards,” said Vlismas.

Ebenhaezer Dibakwane walked away with the coveted SAVANNA Newcomer’s Award while Goliath & Goliath took the Best Friend of Comedy gong for the second consecutive year.

The award for Intermediate Comic went to Yaaseen Barnes, a former recipient of the Newcomer’s Award.

Mashabela Galane won the Non-English Award while the SAVANNA Audience Choice Waldo was awarded to Summary.

Kagiso Lediga walked off with the Comics’ Pen Waldo for the second time, after winning this category in 2014, and Virgil Prins was named Breakthrough Act of 2016. Prins was unfortunately not able to accept his award in person as he is currently performing in Korea.

The Flying Solo Award went to crowd-favourite Skhumba Hlophe while Tumi Morake finally broke the curse of always being a bridesmaid, never the bride, when she walked off with the Edgars Comic of the Year Award.

Casper de Vries was honoured with The Lifetime Achiever Award.

Ndumiso Lindi announced a brand new award – Pan-African Comic of the Year – that will be open to comedians from the rest of Africa from next year.

Yaaseen Barnes, Joey Rasdien, Vittorrio Leonardi and Robby Collins performed a hilarious spoof of “That 70’s Show”.

Funnymen representing Africa included Phenyo the Master (Botswana), Mdura (Swaziland), Ndangi Lileka (Namibia), Leonel Mendes (Mozambique), Tshepo “Masapo” Mpiti (Swaziland), David Aglah (Ghana), Snooze (Malawi), Tongai Makawa (Zimbabwe), and Basketmouth (Nigeria). The visitors each presented an award and were thrilled to be welcomed in style by their South African counterparts.

In true prankster fashion, Darren Simpson appeared in a video sketch where he played the God of Comedy.

After a wonderful night filled with so much love and laughter we would just like to thank our media partners Sunday World, Kaya FM and Vuzu Amp for their support.


Sep 1


In a landmark announcement that is set to shake up the comedy industry at home and on the continent, the Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards® and long-term partner Savanna Premium Cider launched the Savanna Pan-African Comic Award at a media event at Montecasino, Johannesburg on Thursday 1 September.

The Savanna Pan-African Comic will officially form part of the Awards in 2017 as its newest and 12th category. The award will go to the comic on the continent who has contributed the most to the African comedy industry, as voted for by his or her fellow African comedians.

Savanna and the Awards hosted nine of the continent’s top comedians at the media announcement event to reinforce their commitment to promoting and supporting comedy talent across Africa. These included Bright Okpocha aka Basketmouth (Nigeria), Ndangi Iileka (Namibia), Leonel Mendes (Mozambique), David Aglah (Ghana), Phenyo Phaladi aka Phenyo the Master (Botswana), Mdura (Swaziland), Tongai Makawa (Zimbabwe), Tshepo “Masapo” Mpiti (Lesotho) and Mbeu ‘Snooze’ Kambuwa (Malawi).

“The Savanna Comic’s Choice Awards® are all about elevating the art of comedy, and the African continent has produced so many leading comics – we want to reach out and close the distance in this network, so that African comedy starts to show up on the world’s radar,” says Savanna CCA’s co-founder John Vlismas.

These comedians have been invited to attend the main awards show on Saturday 3 September, most of whom will be part of it for the first time. They have also been given the honour of presenting the Waldos (the award statuettes) to their South African comedy comrades on stage on the night.

“Comedy without borders”

“We’ve never had a comedy gathering of this caliber on the continent,” says Vlismas. “The Savanna CCA’s have unprecedented potential to make new connections, foster collaboration and make comedy boundaries fall away. We spoke with Savanna and they saw the value of the idea immediately.”

Comedy and humour have been a part of Savanna’s DNA since the brand’s inception, and has become synonymous with Savanna’s style and tone. “The brand’s ongoing partnership with the Savanna Comics Choice Awards® is part of the plan to keep consumers in South Africa – and Africa – laughing. By hosting these African comedians, Savanna furthers its aim of making comedy accessible throughout the continent,” says Loyiso Sipayile, Savanna Global Marketing Manager.

The eight countries were chosen based on existing networks, and on the resources available for the pilot phase of the project. “We believe this is a great first step as we work to include every African country from 2017 onwards,” says Savanna CCA’s co-founder, Taffia Keight.

To facilitate the connections with the African comedians, highly respected South African comedian Ndumiso Lindi will act as Savanna CCA Ambassador to Africa – briefing visiting comics and ensuring that each returns to their home country equipped to share the Savanna CCA voting system with their fellow comedians in their home countries.

Once details of eligible comics across Africa have been captured in the voting system, the mechanics of the voting process will be announced, paving the way for the first-ever Savanna Pan-African Comic.

Follow #SavannaCCA online for news and updates as we roll out this exciting new milestone in African comedy.

Be part of comedy history and see who will walk away with the Waldos at this year’s Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards® on 3 September 2016 at the Teatro at Montecasino. Book your tickets online here.

Event Information:
Twitter/Instagram: @ComicsChoice