Foreign Policy Magazine

The Elephant in the Comedy Club

A troupe of popular young comics avoids mixing humor and politics in Rwanda.

KIGALI, RWANDA—The comedians trickle into a rehearsal space in Kimihurura, a quiet, upper-class neighborhood, brimming with restless energy. Known as the Comedy Knights, the young performers slouch on wooden school chairs and warm up for their Valentine’s Day show by dissing one another. “His face looks like a cross between Mobutu and Jacob Zuma!”

In the seven years since they first came together, the group developed Kigali’s first regular stand-up show. With weekly live sets staged in hotel backrooms that are later broadcast on television, the Comedy Knights are part of a creative awakening in Rwanda’s capital that’s attracting young people to Kigali from across

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Foreign Policy Magazine

Foreign Policy Magazine11 min read
The Sources Of Socialist Conduct
1 JUST A FEW YEARS AGO, the idea of a social democratic foreign policy—much less a democratic socialist one—in the United States would have seemed a quixotic proposition. No U.S. administration has even pretended to have one. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s
Foreign Policy Magazine11 min read
Can Social Democrats Save The World [again]?
COMMUNISM AND DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM WON’T HEAL TODAY’S POLITICAL DIVISIONS. BUT SOCIAL DEMOCRACY—WHICH HELPED WARD OFF EXTREMISM FOLLOWING WORLD WAR II—COULD.
Foreign Policy Magazine5 min read
How to Reverse the World’s Trust Deficit Disorder
Public-private partnerships can solve the planet’s most vexing problems—but they need to focus on systemic change rather than single issues to succeed.