Ndangi Iileka, or as he is better known, Iileka, is arguably one of Namibia’s most recognisable and acclaimed comedians who, as is apparent with most things in life, also happens to be a professional electrical engineer.
By his own admission, throughout his childhood in the village somewhere in Okahao district, he has always been someone who fiddles with electronic things. Thus it was no surprise that after matric he enrolled for a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
He graduated in 2010 after which, as Namibians now know, went in search of a crowd he could tickle with his one liners and tales that easily have regular Joes in stitches.
He became sort of an evangelist of laughter through story telling. Iileka engages his audience through his peculiar collection of tales that are easily relatable.
One of his most demanded comic repertoires is about an insurance policy against infidelity, a relationship insurance policy that pays out if the insured partner cheats.
“I got into comedy accidently, when at school some kids would tease me about my poor command of the English language,” he says.
Having moved from the northern village of Okahao he found himself at the Deutsche Höhere Privatschule (DHPS) School in Windhoek for his primary and high school years.
“I basically had a village accent,” he narrates.
“One day I fought back, it was funny, people laughed, some kids cried and I thought to myself, hey I can do this,” says Iileka. From that day onward he would spend most of the school break-times making jokes with his friends. “Laughter was always around me,” he reminisces.
Besides being a regular feature at corporate functions, Iileka has for the past seven years also been a regular performer at the Free Your Mind Stand-up Comedy show. This is a monthly comedy show at the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek.
Not to mention that he has established quite a following through his YouTube posts and regular appearances on the Free Your Mind show on NBC television.
In September 2015, Iileka performed his second one-man show titled The Unkwatwable, which was to a large extent a humorous take on the off-duty habits of young Namibian professionals, 25 years after independence. The show has been put on DVD and is available for “a small but measurable fee” he says.
In September 2016, Iileka was invited to attend the Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards which hosted some of the continents top comedians, including Basketmouth, Loyiso Gola, David Kau, John Vlismas and many others. “I coincidently ended up doing the voice over during the entire show,” he says.
He remembers the year 2010 as the year he started training as an electrical engineer with one of the engineering companies in the country, and the year he was introduced to the comedy at the Free Your Mind Show’s.
“Technically I have been performing stand-up comedy for as long as I have been an engineer,” he says.
“I am now a registered professional electrical engineer and run my own consulting firm, Quartic Sigma Turnkey Solutions CC,” says Iileka.
For the record, he says, there is nothing much needed to balance being an engineer and a comedian. He equates it to people who sketch or play soccer during their free time, only that for him, the free time is spent writing and preforming comedy.
“Comedy is all about sharing joy and good vibes, if anything, I feel that comedy helps me a lot in my business dealings. It’s good for networking and it makes me a pleasant guy to work with. My project meetings are never dull or boring,” he says.
This year, Iileka plans to take his comedy across the borders into the rest of Africa.
In the next five years, he sees himself performing comedy and designing electrical systems not only in Namibia, but elsewhere in Africa as well.
And what was his funniest moment? When a friend told him to start wearing decent underwear that wouldn’t cause an embarrassment if he is ever to be in an accident and paramedics have to cut him out of his garments to his underwear.
The friend said she is tired of coming across beautiful and well-groomed people in accidents who turn out to have detestable underwear after she cuts off their clothes.