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'Patience is a virtue'

Being homeless for two years taught Viljoenskroon-born comedian Chris Mapane, 28, that patience is a virtue.

Mapane, who first came to Johannesburg in 2003 for tertiary studies, didn't know that it was tough to survive in this city.

"Being the first one in my family to go to university in 2004 was a highlight, because I was their only hope of breaking the cycle of poverty since we grew up in dire poverty. My single mother struggled to raise four kids on her own," he says.

But failing the second year for his industrial engineering degree in 2005 at the University of the Witwatersrand, got him expelled and his bursary cancelled.

"So I registered for a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2006. But because I did not have stable accommodation I decided it was best to quit my studies," he says.

Mapane turned to being an MC when a friend encouraged him to try out comedy in 2006. It worked out.

"When I started I used to sleep at venues I performed at. I only accepted a gig if I knew I was going to be given a lift to the venue.

"I mainly slept at the Wits university computer labs during this sad part of my life but I had to be out by 7am," he recalls.

"I've never been bitter about any of my circumstances because I know my mother did her best to make sure I get my Matric.

Showing a face beaming with pride he says: "I wanted her to be proud of me and I know she is, because I'm the breadwinner now and I support a family of seven people, though I never graduated".

Fortunately this sad chapter of his life is now over and he has become an in-demand comedian.

Recently he also started to explore his acting talent.

"I featured in the comedy movie Taxi Ride in April last year and in December I wrapped up the filming of the Taxi Ride series," he says.

Last month Mapane was appointed an ambassador of the Gauteng Tourism Association.

- motaud@sowetan.co.za

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