While comedy has the potential to help people heal and overcome grief in their everyday life, when facing a loss, it’s the last thing most people feel like doing. But the story of how Ferdinand Forka suddenly became a comedian at a later part in life is a tale worth telling.
About Ferdinand Forka
Ferdinand Forka also staged named Oboy Da Comic, is one of Cameroon’s most successful comedians. He was nominated as the best comedian from Bui division, in the North West region, in 2017. Few months later, he was nominated for the category of Best Comedian of the Year. Later, he was nominated for Best Comedian in a comedy skit and best comedy skit. A year after, he was classified among the 50 Most Influential Cameroonians. He was equally awarded best comedian of the year at the New Generation Entertainment Award in the US. Presently, he works in Buea as a Senior Youth and Action Counselor.
Hailing from the Nso land in the Jakiri subdivision of the Northwest Region, Ferdinand Forka is second from a family of 5 children. The Forka family, according to him, has a great sense of humor despite hardships and life challenges. Ferdinand’s father happens to be a source of inspiration to him. The sense of humor was a gift he inherited from his father. His father had a lively sense of humor, always cracking jokes. Perhaps, that gave him the idea that being funny was a good way to behave.
Growing up, his high sense of humour attracted mates and even teachers in primary and secondary school. He thrilled his classmates during sports periods and break time and to him, it was fun.
However, Ferdinand had never dreamt of becoming a comedian, let alone, building a career in it since nobody in his family was into comedy.
Upon his entry into the University of Yaounde 1, he read GEOGRAPHY and joined the PRIMS ENTERTAINMENT BAND. This gave him a platform to start facing audiences. However, as a new student on campus, Ferdinand suffered a lot from solitude in his days in school and it was the force that pushed him into comedy.
Comedy was the only thing that kept him company. Comedy was his source of happiness and friend in lonely moments since he didn’t have many friends. Just like his father, Ferdinand Forka also found so much fun and pleasure seeing others laugh. And to him, every platform was an opportunity to make friends (even if it’ll last only for that moment).
How He Started the Oboy Comedy Show
Being a geography student and having to spend practically all his weekends in social gatherings cracking jokes, he considered taking his comedy professional. He decided to join the Theatre Arts club to learn some skills which could help him build his career like stage performance, stage occupation and diction. Life at that time wasn’t easy and Ferdinand dropped out of school due to some challenges. Nevertheless, Ferdinand had the determination to pursue his studies and get a degree.
He started operating a bar (L&B Bar) and in 2011, he was able to save some money to write the public exam into the National Institute of Youths and Sport (INJS). It was there that he realized comedy can go beyond just getting little cash to survive. He came to the realization that one could actually make a profession out of it.
While still in school, he realized that Cameroon has talents but lacks a platform that will welcome other comedians. As such, he started the OBOY COMEDY SHOW in the same year in 2014. Two years later in 2016, he graduated with a Master Degree in Educational Sciences and Socio-cultural Tourism.
Through hard work, perseverance and focus, Ferdinand was first posted to the Regional Multi-Purpose Youth Empowerment Centre in Buea. This was before working with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education as a team member for EMAPURE in University of Buea.
Ferdinand Forka Uses Comedy to Reach out to the Youths
As a Senior Youth and National Counsellor, Ferdinand Forka is a mediator. He works to link youths to opportunities and to empower them both socio-economically and socio-culturally to help them discover themselves. The effort is to make them understand their potentials and better their future. He equally uses his comedic shows to create a platform for youths to discover themselves.
When an International Youth Day is coming up, he works with his team to commemorate and celebrate the youths. They do this by organizing seminars, symposiums and any event that permits them to meet up with the youths. The target usually, is to empower the youths and remind them that they are the future builders of the country. Ferdinand Forka’s office is always open to welcome youths who have challenges in decision-making in the face of opportunities.
Doing all these, he believes he is playing his own role in building a brighter future for the youths and his country.
Ferdinand Forka as a Flag Bearer of Cameroon’s Comedy
Ferdinand Forka is indeed a flag bearer of Cameroon’s comedy. The Oboy da Comic Show has created a platform to encourage and expose young talents to the world. It is also an effective medium to reach out to the youths in the society.
“So far we’ve done seven editions of the Oboy da Comic Show; we’ve done mega Gospel Comedy concerts.” He said.
As someone who sees a profession in comedy and who sees comedy more like journalism, Ferdinand Forka believes a comedian is somebody who tells stories. A comedian according to him, informs people and does things in a different kind of way. He does this in a way that sends the message across while also generating laughter. He equally sees a comedian as someone who cures people through laughter.
“As a counselor, comedy is a tool to speak to people, the underprivileged, the youths and comedy becomes practically a way to diagnose such people. That’s why I chose comedy,” he said.
As a flag bearer, he’ll be travelling to London to collect another award and he’ll be performing in London and in Newton in November; making the black as well as the white community of America to laugh to the Cameroonian stories.
Ferdinand refuses to get carried away by the accolades and the awards. He still believes that there is still so much work in the industry, at the level of comedians themselves, the state and the audience. Together, he believes Cameroonian comedy will go far beyond Buea, Yaounde and Cameroon. Ferdinand is indeed, a comedic genius and with a perfect comedic timing, he delivers the punch line.