Bridget Aluoch alias Bema

Child comedienne Bridget Aluoch alias Bema.

| Pool

Child comedian Bridget Bema is Kenya's Emmanuella

What you need to know:

  • Her comedy, shot in a village primary school setting, comes with some originality, mostly due to the portrayal of village life.
  • Bema notes she has been balancing her time well and does not take time off from her studies to do comedy.

In 2016, comedian Oliver Otieno, popularly known as YY, decided to feature his then five-year-old sister Bridget Aluoch in a clip singing the song Kamatia Chini by Navy Kenzo and posted it on his social media platforms. He was surprised when the clip went viral as the confident child humorously fumbled with the words.

“It was so hilarious it went viral,” recalls YY known for his performances in the TV comedy programme Churchill Show.

After that he left her alone – until last year, when he captured another clip of her making jokes. It also went viral when he posted it on his social media pages.

“The audience loved it so much they demanded that she has her own social media pages,” he says.

From then on, it was popularity galore for the nine-year-old Grade 3 pupil of Kosele Primary School in Homa Bay County.

Ironically, Bema has become more popular in West Africa than in Kenya. In fact, the BBC Pidgin service featured her late last year, with rave reviews from its audiences.

Six million subscribers

Nigerians and Ghanians compare Bema with Emmanuella Samuel, the popular Nigerian child comedian for the Mark Angel YouTube channel, which has more than six million subscribers. Emmanuella is such a sensation that she is rich and has recently built a home for her parents from the proceeds of comedy.

Bema’s strength is in playing naughty and using hilarious methods to get out of sticky situations as a pupil in a rural school.

According to YY, who has taken up the role of her manager, Bema has always had a good sense of humour. It seems humour runs in the family.

It is YY who noticed the talent while the girl was much younger and started documenting it.

Laugh a lot

“My brother would laugh a lot while around me and at times he would secretly set his camera to record me just in case I said something funny during a conversation,” she says.

She says her brother, now her manager and guardian, kept encouraging her to try out comedy.

Her comedy, shot in a village primary school setting, comes with some originality, mostly due to the portrayal of village life.

“I was born and raised in the village, that’s where I feel comfortable doing what I love. I’m also able to connect with the majority who grew up in the village,” says Bema.

Bema notes she has been balancing her time well and does not take time off from her studies to do comedy.

“I only record videos during school holidays when I am free...only occasionally when there's a need, that I record on weekends, but I never ask for permission or skip school for comedy,” she adds.

Her recent works have seen her increase her audience as well as become popular.

“I’ve had people who bring me gifts from every part of the country which make me feel honoured...therefore it's an honourable hobby. Fellow pupils may think I am different or special in some kind of way...they think I breathe different oxygen... They show me love and most of them want to be close,” she said.

Nurturing talent

YY says that nurturing talent at a young age solidifies what a child does and gives them experience. He adds that unlike adults who at times may not be flexible to certain concepts, children can easily be moulded and are more patient.

 “When she's free, I sacrifice my time to go record her in the village. I do everything for her because she means a lot to me,” he says.

About her plans, he says he doesn’t have specific ones but has decided to deal with things as they come.

“Recording and pushing her is the only thing within my powers and God will take care of the results, “he says.

Bema’s word of advice to fellow children is not to limit themselves when exploring talents.

“I can only urge parents to allow us, within realistic boundaries, to explore our talents. Children should also respect their parents and study hard,” she says.

Her dream is to become a pilot when she grows up. In the meantime, she is flying high in the blogosphere.

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