BY Stephen Nartey, 6:20pm March 18, 2024,

From bullied pupil to popular comic: Zimbabwe’s Munya Chawawa showcases baking talents in Celebrity Bake Off

Munya Chawawa/Photo credit: GETTY

Munya Chawawa is showcasing his baking talents in the Celebrity Bake Off tent for the Stand Up To Cancer special that began on March 17. Hosted by Alison Hammond and Noel Fielding, the event will feature 20 stars competing for the baking title, judged by Paul Hollywood and Dame Prue Leith.

Chawawa will face off against celebrities like Mel B, Oti Mabuse, Rhod Gilbert, and Danny Dyer in this highly anticipated event, according to Daily Mail.

The internet sensation’s rise to stardom has been a remarkable one. He started with a chaotic upbringing in Zimbabwe’s civil unrest and was constantly being taunted in school. But, the comic braved the odds to let the world know his story.

Chawawa, born on December 29, 1992, in Derby, East Midlands, gained prominence for his viral comedy sketches targeting celebrities and politicians. During his childhood, Chawawa’s vivid imagination led him to create elaborate worlds and fight scenes inspired by the toys in his room.

His talent for performance emerged at an early age. He began by entertaining his family with three-hour shows featuring ventriloquism, breakdancing, and singing. Playfully labeling himself a “triple threat,” Chawawa credits his uncle and granddad for inspiring his journey as an entertainer, as he shared with the Guardian.

“We’d go to my grandparents’ house on a Friday and my Uncle Doug would come loaded with an artillery of jokes.”

At the age of four, he relocated with his family to Zimbabwe. Despite the move, his popularity soared in his new school, partly due to his British background. This had a strong linkage to his academic prowess and sporty pursuits. Growing up in a strict setting, he played the role of a squeaky-clean head boy while embracing his role as the class joker.

Chatting with Patta in 2020, Munya said: “I tell people I’m Zimbabwean because, you know when you just connect with a place so deeply?

“Growing up in Zimbabwe, people are so positive and so happy you really do believe you can do anything.”

Chawawa’s content school life was disrupted when political turmoil, led by leader Robert Mugabe, compelled his family to return to England. Transitioning to the Norfolk village of Framingham Pigot brought a culture shock, as Chawawa found that his academic prowess, celebrated in Zimbabwe, alienated him from British classmates who viewed it differently. Despite his eagerness to answer questions, he was criticized and labeled a “boffin” by his peers.

He added: “I didn’t even know what boffin meant. It sounded like something you could catch in a game of Quidditch.”

While the bullies didn’t inflict physical harm, their actions gradually eroded his confidence and self-esteem. Reflecting on their tactics, Chawawa recalled a hurtful incident during his hospitalization for appendix surgery when classmates falsely accused him of drug involvement and said “Munya is smoking weed; he’s a dealer.”

Recounting instances of being targeted by his peers for his ambitious nature and pride in his heritage, he described an incident where bullies maliciously vandalized a wooden hippo, a symbol of his homeland, by drenching it in glue.

But, he drew inspiration from the pain and turned his struggles to creative outlets like poetry, rap, and public speaking. Reclaiming his confidence, he resumed leadership roles, serving as head boy and organizing breakdancing competitions during lunch breaks, while also fostering camaraderie with younger students through friendly gestures like fist bumps.

Today, reports say that the former Sheffield University Psychology student is worth around $1 million. He rose to fame after poking fun at a video of Jamie Oliver making jerk-rice and went on to make parody news sketches before releasing two singles that got him a massive following on social media.

The British-Zimbabwean comic, who has had brand deals with big companies like Netflix and GiffGaff, has been featured on Celebrity MasterChef 2021 and as Choronzon on Netflix’s The Sandman.

The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer will take place over five episodes. Host Hammond said of this year’s line-up: “I’m totally in awe of this year’s celebrity bakers, all putting their baking skills, or in some cases lack of, under nationwide scrutiny to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer.”

“And as someone who proved to be something of a baking genius [sic] when I baked in the tent a few years ago, I was delighted to be able to show them the ropes and where the oven doors were. On your mark, get set, Bake for Stand Up To Cancer,” Hammond said, according to Hello Magazine.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 18, 2024


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