As Just for Laughs celebrates its 35th anniversary, the international comedy festival announces a joint venture with a South African-based conglomerate, in the formation of Just for Laughs Africa. Alongside JFL’s festivals in Toronto, Vancouver and Sydney, JFL Africa will deliver a continent-wide mix of local comedy development, international comedy superstars and opportunities for African comedians to gain international exposure. JFL Africa will take place in the South African coastal city of Durban.
At today’s press conference, Gilles Morin, JFL’s Head of International Development, said of the joint venture, “As you know, the best babies, the best looking babies are born from a mixage… South Africa is the land of love and notre devoir is to be in Africa.”
JFL Africa Director Moyikwa Sisulu, a South African businessman and philanthropist, announced July 2018 as the tentative date for the festival, with the possibility of smaller events leading up the launch. “This is a time of development for South African comedy.” With acknowledgement to JFL’s long-time support of South African comedians, Sisulu added, “We’d like to continue this relationship and grow our market, through the assistance of this illustrious organization.”
Bruce Hills, JFL Chief Operating Officer, described JFL Montreal as “the Olympics of comedy.” “We want to make sure we bring the best comics here, for years to come.” He believes JFL Africa will “create a deeper connection and offer more opportunities for South African comics to be seen.”
JFL Founder, Gilbert Rozon added, “We bring something to the table, for sure, but we are also there to learn and to evolve.”
Rabin Harduth, JFL Africa’s Director, explained that the idea for the festival started only seven months ago. “Since then, it has evolved every single day.” While acknowledging various obstacles, such as the mammoth Time Zone difference between Montreal and Durban, Harduth is buoyant. “We see it as exciting, as a challenge… There’s great aspiration and inspiration in bringing international comics to Africa and bringing Africa to the world.”
Those who’d like to learn more about Just for Laughs Africa, are welcome to visit their website, or follow them at @JFLAfrica, on Twitter and Instagram.