Ventriloquism gives me peace of mind — Yvonne Tamaka.

Ever watched a show where the puppet actually appears to speak? Well who would have guessed that our Zambian entertainment industry would have Ventriloquists, with unique talents most of us could never imagine we had our industry keeps growing. Those puppet shows on TV while we were kids mostly from the western countries. Some thought puppets actually talk.

My puppets are far more liberated than I am. Ventriloquism is a useful way of expressing myself. — Nina Conti

Ventriloquist kind of helped me find my voice. It’s really helped me come out of my shell. — Darci Lynne Farmer

Ventriloquism, according to britannica.com is defined as the art of “throwing” the voice, i.e., speaking in such a manner that the sound seems to come from a distance or from a source other than the speaker. At the same time, the voice is disguised (partly by its heightened pitch), adding to the effect.

This a story of our brilliant Yvonne Tamaka who is a Ventriloquist , Theatre artist, stand up comedian, TV producer and Electrical Engineer we had a chance to get to know more about her and what she does;

Where are you based?

I am currently based in Lusaka, Zambia.

Brief history of work done?

Performed at prestigious puppet festivals in Russia, worked as a Ventriloquist at the Tambov state puppet theatre till graduation.

Produced 7 TV shows for Muvi TV (Story O’clock, Masobela Championships, Amuna Onzuna, PA Depo, Zkids news, Job Switch)

Performed comedy shows with the likes of Bob Nkosha (Dorica), Mwanachingwala, Chibwe Katebe, Vubwi, Abel Chungu, Gabby Chanca lamba etc

Currently performing in the presidential festivals in comedy and theatre.

I belong in a theatre group called Tom’s Arts and it is 1 of the 6 groups that qualified for the presidential festivals from 15 competitors.

Currently a creative content creator for Kazadi films which recently released the Black Dollar movie which is going on Netflix.

As an Engineer, I am currently a project supervisor for innovations at Munali Boys high school.

How can you define what you do and Can you recall the first time you entertained a paying audience?

I describe what I do as a calling, others are called to minister through the pulpit, I was called to minister through the arts. My first pay was incredible and I did not expect to get what I got but the moment I got on stage, I knew it (the stage) was my home.

How do you become a ventriloquist?

I learnt Ventriloquism at church when I was a kid and anyone who wants to learn from me, a school is underway.

Do you think that through your characters, you can say things that you wouldn’t ordinarily say?

Most definitely , I get away with a lot of things I say through my puppets if I said them as Yvonne i would not have made it past age 10.

How do you develop new material with your characters?

My material comes from my friends and family, those people are crazy.

With our mentality of getting education and working like expected how hard has it been for you to still do this considering how very unique it is and how do you manage?

It has been really hard to balance everything but through trial and error, I realized you just need to know what you want and come up with a strategy that works for you.

What’s the favorite thing about what you do?

The piece of mind and being able to do what I love.

How is the Zambian entertainment industry accepting people with rare talents like yours?

They are really welcoming and supportive.

Do you think you influence people?

Yes,I feel that now people are able to see that even we Africans are able to master foreign arts.

In Russia

What’s the one thing you cannot go a day without doing?

Cursing and praying(not at the same time of course)

Favorite place in Zambia?

Lusaka city is definitely the one for me where birds fly backwards and also because all the people I love are here.

3 Zambian people if any who have influenced you so much?

Prof Difikoti state council, Mr Angel Phiri (creator of the Mushala movie) and My mom.

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What advice would you have given yourself?

Spend more time with Aunty Cathy (the lady who taught me Ventriloquism)

How do you want people to remember you?

As a person who was brave enough to do what she wanted even when it seemed dumb or illogical.

What are you do aside from your passion and work?

I play chess (was in the national women’s chess team)

What publications have you regularly read?

I read a lot of stuff at any given time, you will find me in the process of reading a novel or anything in those lines

What would be your personal motto?

With the right bait, you can catch any fish you want.

Advice to your fellow youths?

Change your thinking, the only thing holding you back from achieving anything significant is you.

What are you biggest regrets and fears?

Taking good people for granted

What should we expect from you?

Taking Zambian arts to the world, bigger comedy shows, bigger movies like Black Dollar and a school for performing arts.

Where can we find more of you? Social media and your works?

Facebook-Yvonne the Ventriloquist, IG and YouTube- Yvonne_Tamaka and Muvi TV and coming soon on Hot TV.

By Kantumoya Derrick Mpaka

Edited by Kasonde Dalitso

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