Kagiso Lediga

Based: Johannesburg

Kagiso Lediga is a South African stand-up comedian, actor, producer, writer and television presenter best known for creating, writing, producing and starring in the SABC1 sketch comedy series Pure Monate Show, from 2003-2004.

He is also known on the local stand-up comedy circuit, having performed in South Africa and abroad regularly since 1998.

Born in Pretoria in 1978, Lediga quit his hometown in 1995 to study English and Drama at the University of Cape Town. It was whilst studying that he had his first taste of stand-up comedy, performing during Orientation Week in 1995.

This quickly lead to gigs with the Cape Comedy Club, and, crucially, as a new face at the Smirnoff International Comedy Festival in 1998.

He has performed at all the major comedy events on the local calendar including the prestigious Cape Town International Comedy Festival, where he won the People’s Choice Award.

Other comedy events he has performed at include Laugh Out Loud, Comedy Blackout, Kingsize Heavyweight Comedy Jams, Blacks Only, Freshest Comedy Festival, Pure Monate Comedy Jam and the Let Durban Laugh Festival.

He has also appeared at such comedy venues as Blues Room, The Armchair, The Underground Cool Runnings, Dachs, Comedy @ 88, Tanz Café, Carnival City, Horror Café, Cherelee’s, Morula Sun, Funny Bones, Carolines (New York), Yuk Yuks (Toronto) and The Laugh Lounge (New York).

Internationally, he took the stage at the biggest comedy festival in the world – the Edinburgh Comedy Festival. He has also performed in New York, Toronto, London and Mauritius.

He was a writer and co-lead in the South African movie Bunny Chow, which won awards at the Toronto, Los Angeles, Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals. He also won the Best Actor Award at the Cape Town Film Festival.

Pure Monate Show, which he produced, wrote and performed in, was nominated in nine categories at the inaugural South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs), in 2006. As the anchor of the show he became a household name.

He went on to play roles on various other television shows, including Sorted, Hard Copy, Evita Live and Dangerous, Comedy Showcase, The Toasty Show, Phat Joe Live, Laugh out Loud, Quickies 2 and SOS.

His successful foray in TV led to film roles, notably Bunny Chow (2006) which he produced and also starred in. It won awards at the Toronto Film Festival, American Film Institute Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival and was also invited to the Rotterdam Film Festival.

It was also the opening film at Sithengi, the Cape Town International Film Festival, where his performance saw him being awarded the Best Actor Award.

Other films he has acted in include Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon (2005), Crazy Monkey Presents Straight Outta Benoni (2005), Footskating 101 (2007) and Big Fellas, also in 2007.

In December 2010 he hosted the comedy reality series Opening Guys on DStv’s Mzansi Magic channel. The 13-episode series features Kagiso mentoring emerging comedy acts known as “Opening Guys”, whose job is to warm up an audience before the headline act.

His 2012 one man show, Kagiso Lediga: In A Suit, was filmed and broadcast as a comedy special on Comedy Central on April Fool’s Day, 2013. He was the twelfth host of the Comedy Central series Comedy Central Presents… Live at Parker’s, in 2013.

His name, Kagiso, means “Peace”.

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