Robin Muchetu, Senior Gender Reporter
A FAMOUS saying goes — A prophet is not celebrated in his own home. This may be an apt description of former Mr Bulawayo Oliver Keith Siamboloka who has found a new home in South Africa and seen his exploits being recognised beyond the African continent.
The multi-talented Oliver Keith as he likes to be called, dribbles between modelling, emceeing, promoting shows and of late comedy as evidenced by his online character Na Jesca. Na Jesca is your typical Zimbabwean mother living in the ghetto who tackles social issues such as pregnancy, love life, migration, education and even street gossip in her skits.
However, his career has taken an upward climb as he has been offered slots to host shows for Zimbabwean artistes in the diaspora, a move that he says shows that his fellow Zimbabweans are gaining confidence in his talent.
Sunday News Senior Reporter Robin Muchetu (RM) caught up with Oliver Keith (OK) while he was in the United Kingdom hosting a show. Below are excerpts of the interview.
RM. What are you doing in the UK?
OK. I was here for gospel musician Takesure Zama’s concert titled “Worship Altar”. There were two concerts, one in Birmingham on 7 July and the other in London on 14 July.
RM. How did this big break come about?
OK. The Zimbabwe Achievers Award that I won earlier this year in South Africa has really seen a lot of Zimbabwean-owned UK companies approaching me and appointing me as their brand ambassador. Luv Natural (a hair studio in London) and Veneka Accessories have requested that I sell their brand and here I am, I am their brand ambassador.
I also work along with one of the biggest entertainment companies called Rainbow Entertainment and Promotions, owned by Pastor Stephen Mpofu. We have worked with big artistes such as Deitrick Haddon (USA), Hlengiwe Mhlaba, Dr Rebbecca Malope, Benjamin Dube, Soul Brothers, and Minister Michael Mahendere.
On promoting shows I take every event that I partake in as if it was my own. If you hire me to be an MC or Host for your event anywhere in the world, I’ll take it upon myself to market it to the best of my ability. That is what a good artiste should do. It is all about personality appeal. It is the same thing as you going to Edgars to buy a blouse simply because you saw another figure wearing it. I take my role as MC for any event whole heartedly such that the next person also wants to have me hosting their event.
RM. So what do you do now, who is Oliver Keith now?
OK. I am a model cum comedian. I am a model first before comedian. I am a commercial model, digital model, brand ambassador.
RM. We have seen you doing a number of philanthropic works of late; please shed more light on that.
OK. I have not rebranded into philanthropy as such but I have been helped in almost every aspect of my life. I am still being helped even up to today. Life is not always what it appears to be.
I think I have reached a stage where I am in a better position to help others than being helped. In 2016, I visited a school in Tsholotsho where I was part of a team that was giving career guidance to students. After listening to one of the greatest challenges (among others) that befall students in underprivileged schools, I decided to start a sanitary pads campaign.
This campaign is basically me and my team collecting sanitary wear for young underprivileged girls and distributing them. It’s a campaign that I do with the assistance of the many audiences that I interact with on a day-to-day basis. My fans on social media have also been there to support this cause and it has helped a lot.
RM. What are your plans for the future?
OK. I am in the process of registering The Oliver Keith Foundation. This foundation is non-profit making, and its entire objective is to help young underprivileged girls and boys to be better people in every way possible.
RM. It has been great catching up with you.
RM: OK. Thank you.