By: Jones Chikazunga
He could be doing his normal life routines like any other human being, but it could still feel like he’s in the middle of a skit. Sometimes just looking at him when met in person, one could easily fall into stiches without him saying a word or doing anything comical. Comedy was his second self. He was from his own planet when it comes to humour. There will only be one Izeki, the man and the myth. In him comedy was home. John Nyanga was his name. .
Born in Zimbabwe in June 1963, he realized his artistry years back at Ndirande Holy Ghost Catholic parish in Blantyre where he also met his counterpart Erick Mabedi (Jacobo), and they together formed the dynamic duo called Izeki ndi Jacobo. However, at this time Izeki was travelling by the name Alufeyo. Little by little, the two started winning the hearts of many through their performance and managed to break through the arts industry with ease and making their duo a public’s daring.
Their early plays included Kukhala and I am the Road (you walk). The former was released in 1992, and the latter in 1997. Both plays were recorded live.
The plays took the industry by storm. They became a famous name and their popularity soar on eagles’ wings in ways never done before. The duo was on fire with the productions. Besides these acts, Izeki ndi Jacobo also won the hearts of many through various acts they showcased that, among others, were civic educating Malawians on various social issues. Izeki ndi Jacobo became a household name as their faces could not miss on MBC TV. Their fame did even cross the boarders into places like Zambia.
Remember, they were also prolific in the famous Kwathu Drama Group.
In the early 2000’s the duo produced a DVD called Njinga. This was in the year 2005 to be precise. This was pure icing on the cake as it were a jokes galore to the pleasure of their dearest fans. Pieces like Tchalitchi, Bokosi, Njinga, Masamba and Nkhumba, among others. Very exceptional work. And they still have stood the test of time up to this date.
Izeki tantalized. He was a goody-goody.
The writer had time to chat with the marvel before his demise in May 2016. Through the interview, the reporter learnt the inside out of the artist.
How many of you knew his complete name was John Nyangayathyoka, and that his actual birth time was 5pm?
“I was born from a Malawian father and Zimbabwean mother in the then Southern Rhodesia, but I returned back here [in Malawi], Mulanje my home district to be more precise at a tender age. There, I attended Chinyama primary school before I relocated to Ndirande Township in Blantyre. Then, I went ahead with school at Makata primary school and Dallap CDSS but I did not go further with my education. I was too childish,” as if he was acting, he explained.
Cutting the long story short, Izeki died a legend. He was at his best in the early 2000s when he, among others, performed in the USA in Indiana City (together with Jacobo), and later won Entertainers of the Year award in the year 2004. Good wine needs no bush.
“Stepping onto the American soils was all my lifetime dream. I even challenged God that by just stepping there, He could take me to heaven and that would die a very happy person.”
In the year 2008, he took a pause in the theatrical circles and started his ministry as God’s servant. Later, the ex-Joy radio Kalibu program presenter’s health started to deteriorate due to sicknesses. He became a regular at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital where he was mostly admitted at.
Once a comedian always one. John Nyanga returned as a comedian. Having done some Gotv soaps and as well as performing during the launch of Public Service Reforms Commission Program in Lilongwe in the presence of former president Peter Mutharika and his vice Dr. Saulos Chilima.
In May 2016, the thespian gave up to Tuberculosis and died. The legend rested. He was mourned at Kamuzu stadium, and his burial took place at the H.H.I cemetery.
Until today, Izeki’s name refuses to follow the owner. His comedies are still highly watched and short videos still make rounds and trends on all social media platforms. He left a very powerful legacy as Malawi’s famous comedian. The kind that’s indomitable.
Izeki, the name that was comedy. The Legend.