Mdu Ntuli

Mdu Ntuli is a university dropout. Ironically, it was when he was studying for a BSc degree in Computer Science at the University of the Witwatersrand that the idea of becoming a cartoonist first took root. He drew a cartoon for the student newspaper, which — as a sign of things to come — left everyone in stitches. “The cartoon was so good that one of my lecturers had it pasted on the wall of his office while he was grilling me about my poor academic performance,” he said in an interview with Mahala. Born in Emalahleni in Mpumalanga, Ntuli, who swears that he’s “actually a really boring guy”, became the toast of South African comedy when his surrealist hand-drawn animations went viral. Sparing no sacred cows the 30-year-old reimagined Jesus as a black African National Congress supporter who, instead of offering salvation, demands an internet money transfer. Another clip portrayed respected talk-show host Noleen Maholwana Sangqu caught up in a love triangle involving a donkey. Lewd, and sometimes outrageous, the jokes kept coming thick and fast and the country loved them. South Africans were not the only ones burning up bandwidth watching Ntuli’s wacky Izikhokho Show. Comedy Central’s Africa Network also caught on, picking up the show in 2012. It hasn’t all been laughs and high-fives though. Ntuli found himself at the centre of a controversial storm last year when a Pretoria resident took issue with one of his cartoons and lodged a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission. Even so, there have been more ups than downs in his world and he remains optimistic. “Every job is an adventure,” he says. “One minute you are making a hard-sell commercial, next minute you create an underwater community of Chuwawas [sic].” — Bongani Kona