Naptsa, 'the black vegan', is coming to Cape Town for a one-night only comedy special – News24
Tuesday, 15 November
It was in 2019 that he watched a Netflix documentary that changed his life, and now he is trying to change everyone else’s through comedy.
Comedian Napsta, real name Napoleon Masinga, is using comedy to advocate for people to eat less meat. Watching ‘What The Health’ had him reevaluating his life.
He was dared into doing his first comedy and unbeknown to him, the comedy bug bit him.
“Like a lot of famous singers and rappers, I actually started out my comedy career in church. I was part of the creative planning committee for a conference. My job was to bring cool ideas for the conference. I suggested a comedian.
“They dared me to perform a comedy set, because they didn’t want any comedy to come and be vulgur. So, I wrote my first 15 minute set and performed it in front of 27,000 people live in Nigeria, and I have never looked back since.”
From his early days as a copy writer, he has gone on to own his own advertising agency called Napsta Collective.
“Having a team has helped me be able to do both advertising and comedy.
“Advertising is my job, Comedy is my work. The job pays the bills, but the work is aligned to my purpose.”
“They shared a lot of insights that got me thinking. So, I first started with meat-free Mondays, then I extended it to two days then ultimately the entire week. I had to educate myself a lot about being a vegan because I was ignorant.
“So now I want to encourage people to be mindful of their eating habits. A lot of people do not know that it [takes] two days before meat is fully digested by your system. But I do want people to consult their healthcare providers first because being a vegan is not for everyone.”
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Napsta says he is not trying to convince everyone to give up meat to altogether.
“My mission is for people to be conscious eaters. We would make a lot of progress if people were to take time to find out where their food comes from.”
Now this is not typical material for a black man who grew up eating meat.
“As black people, meat is part of every celebration we have. But it is not even limited to celebrations, now suddenly Sunday lunch at your mother’s house is a problem now because everything on the seven colours plate includes meat.
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He may be based in Cape Town now where there are a lot of dietary options, but where he is from in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, that is not always the case, he says.
“Even if I go to a wedding, if I say I am vegan people think just removing meat from my plate is enough and it’s not. There is a difference between a vegetarian and vegan,” he says.
He got into comedy by chance.
“I moved from home to Joburg in high school because I wanted to pursue a drama career. I wanted to act and be the next Tau Mogale. But I was not getting a steady income from the TV gigs as I had hoped.
“A friend then told me about advertising and so that is how I got into the creative space as a copywriter. While there, I would also act out pitches to client and I think my heart was still yearning to be a performer. As they say, the rest is history.”
Napsta says advertising has helped him with his comedy.
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“It has helped with my writing, creativity and tightening the message up. And now here I am doing comedy about health and wellness.”
He says moving to Cape Town has given him access to a wider audience.
“Now I have access to a foreign market, which means my subject matter has to be universal too. But I am very mindful that they need to learn more about us. Because my thing is that if a person can spend money and fly all the way from another continent to South Africa, then they are interested in us as a people, so we must not give them Americanized content, but we must be true to ourselves.”
Napsas will be performing for one-night only at the Protea Fire & Ice Hotel in Cape Town on 17 November.
“Next year we will be taking this set on tour locally and internationally.”
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