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AK Dans: From a refugee camp to stage

AK Dans

Comedy man: Daniel Jambo Poundak Akau known to many as AK Dans has a fascinating story. For a South Sudanese national, he speaks quite fluent Luganda. How? Lawrence Ogwal caught up with him.

What is your story?

I was born in northern Kenya in Kakuma Refugee Camp in 1997 and I stayed there until the early 2000s. I came to Uganda in 2004 when my father passed on. Together with my two siblings and my mother, we moved to Kitintale. I attended Good Day Primary School in Kitintale. Sadly while in Primary Six, my mother passed on.

What was life like from a refugee camp to losing your mother?

By the time my mother passed on, I had made friends. I had started learning Luganda and as a man, I knew I would manage. My uncle Samuel Poundak took care of my siblings and I. He rented for us a house in Mukono but I was studying at Crane High School in Kitintale.

How did you then become a comedian?

In Senior One, I made friends, among whom were Badminton players so I learnt how to play and it got me a bursary at Crane High School. One day as I was hanging out with one of my friends, I kept him laughing and he asked me to join comedy.

I thought about it and realised that I was actually a humourous person and I could make money out of it. On June 6, 2016, I went to Theatre Labonita to meet a guy called Timothy Nyanzi. I did not find him but rather met a comedian called Joshua Okello Okello, whom I told I wanted to become a comedian. He told me to start coming for rehearsals at LaBonita parking.

How long did it take you to get on stage?

The group I joined was called Punchliners and it became my home; they guided me. It had comedians Okello Okello, Optional Allan, Cotilda and Timothy Nyanzi, among others. It took me four months to get on stage and the first time I did, I was not funny at all. The other time was when a friend called uncle Mark took me to Makerere where I performed at Prime time and it was a great show. After that, I kept rehearsing for about three months without shows.
What was your first pay as a comedian?

My first pay was Shs50,000, which was given to me as transport for the show at Waikiki. I really wanted the money and the person who was supposed to give it to me gave me a lift to Munyonyo. He said good night to me before giving me the money but I reminded him.

What would you say has kept you in comedy and made you improve by the day?

My colleagues at Punchliners who have always told me I am confident on stage, creative and dedicated. I think it is what has enabled me stay relevant. I also think respect for others is what matters the most.

What do you consider your biggest show so far?

The Laugh Festival Season 2 in Nairobi where I performed in front of about 2,000 people. I made them laugh the moment I went on stage until I left. I shared the clip on my social media and it went viral.

Which other places have you performed at?

I have performed at the National Theatre, Soroti, South Africa and Kigali, among other places. I perform every month at Kubbyz Bar.

Have you ever performed in South Sudan?

I have performed in Juba twice. The first time was when I went to get my papers to apply for a visa to South Africa. I met a friend who was organising a show and he told me to go and perform. The second time was last year when I was booked to perform there. I will be there again a few months from now for my One Man show titled The Woke Refugee.

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