Who Is Tumi Morake? New Details On The Comic From 'Comedians Of The World' On Netflix

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Who Is Tumi Morake? New Details On The Comic From 'Comedians Of The World' On Netflix

Comedians of the World on Netflix has been such a success that viewers are spending a full day, watching each stand-up special. And who can blame them? With 47 diverse comedians hailing from all over the globe, we’re truly getting a taste of the unique experiences of each comic. Whether they are from France, the UK, the United States, or South Africa, each comedian offers something individual.

And one South African comic is doing just that. Tumi Morake’s special offers laughs with her storytelling, drawing from personal experiences, and has been described as a “livewire.” Basically, everything you could want in a comedian. But who is Tumi Morake? Here are 7 details to know about how she got her start, and her personal life.


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1. She’s been doing stand-up since 2006.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Tumi Morake (@tumi_morake) on Sep 14, 2018 at 7:21am PDT

Originally performing in clubs, she has since become one of South Africa’s most popular comedians. She earned the title of South Africa’s First Lady of Comedy, too! She’s headlined all over the country, performing at comedy festivals, but she’s also traveled to Ghana, Zimbabwe, Wimbledon, and Botswana.

She had a one-woman show called Herstory in 2011, and soon after, performed at the Edinburgh Festival. Dubbed the “Tarantino of comedy,” she was nominated for Comic of The Year at the Comic’s Choice Awards for 2013-2016, and has won the Mboko Women In The Arts Award for Excellence in Comedy.

In addition to her stand-up, she was also the host of The Big Brother Hot Room, and was a judge on She’s The One. She also hosted Our Perfect Wedding.

2. She’s an author.

Her book, And Then Mama Said... was published in late 2018. The book talks about her mother, whom she modelled her public persona after, as well as her car accident, body shaming, and the entertainment industry in South Africa.

According to Morake, “This isn’t my biography, but a collection of memories from my life. I have shared some of the things that have made me resilient and shaped the persona of Tumi Morake. I have often been asked to share my story and I thought what better way than by honouring the woman who made me who I am, my mother.”

3. She’s also appeared on television.

She’s perhaps most popular for hosting the show Our Perfect Wedding. But she left the show after how she was treated. In a selection from her book, she says: 

“It looked like I was winning at life. What I went through on OPW, however, would prove to be worse than any treatment I had ever received at the hands of my male counterparts in the industry. As a comedian, writer and MC, I had never been told that my weight was an issue. It only ever cropped up on social media or at family gatherings, but never quite as humiliatingly as it did when I presented this show. I left the show after two seasons and there was an overwhelming demand for my return. I felt like I had won. My worth had been taken into account and nothing they threw at me could break me.”


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4. Her real name isn’t Tumi.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Tumi Morake (@tumi_morake) on Jul 28, 2018 at 12:03pm PDT

It’s actually Relopile Boitumelo Morake. In her book, she reveals, “Relopile Boitumelo means ‘we prayed for joy’. When I see people smile or laugh in my presence, I feel I have lived up to that name. Relopile is a rare name; I have never met another. Boitumelo is as common as John; throw a stone and you’ll hit a thousand of us.”

5. During apartheid, her parents were arrested.

In another excerpt from her book, she recounts, “The nightmare actually began in 1987, when we left the Imperial Reserve and relocated to the suburbs. My parents were being watched and followed.

In December 1987, he [her father] went underground, and my mother and I fled the city. Upon her return to Mafikeng, my mother was arrested for treason. She never spoke to me about her time in prison. Mama wasn’t quite the same after this experience. Meanwhile, my father had been smoked out of hiding by the news of my mother’s arrest, and the next time I saw him was when he was behind bars.”

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6. She's a rape survivor.

Her memoir also recounts how she lost her virginity when she was raped at just 15 years old. She decided to write about it to raise awareness, especially after the death of several close friends in the aftermath of trauma. She said,

“I wrote about that because I just felt that the focus is always on the victim. It is never ‘this guy raped this woman’. It is always ‘this woman was raped by...’ ‘This woman was...’ So victims carry the shame. I carried the shame as if I asked this guy to do this to me. As if I invited it on myself. That kind of language has to stop. The only time the focus should be on the victim is when the victim goes, ‘I want to share how I felt or how the experience was for me.’”

7. She’s married.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Tumi Morake (@tumi_morake) on Oct 5, 2018 at 11:41am PDT

Morake has been married to actor Mpho Osei-Tutu for nine years. The couple also have three children.


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Samantha Maffucci is an associate editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.