Very few people have been fortunate enough to laugh about their horrific experiences at different junctures in life but Tyra Tarisai Chikocho has a different way of handling her past.
From being a head of the family aged just 10, to enduring abuse at the hands of nasty employers as a house maid; hers is an astounding story of the proverbial rags to riches analogy.
Born on April 10 1985 in Harare but raised in rural Masvingo, Tyra never imagined herself as an actor or comedian although she embarked on a musical journey in 2010 that saw her release an album titled Sunungura.
“I grew up in a rural area in Masvingo and when I was in grade 5, my mother fell sick and had to be taken to Harare for treatment leaving me with siblings to feed and take care of. Times were very tough and from a tender age I had to start working at a nearby farm,” said Tyra who now globetrots the world living a high life.
A year later, her mother sadly passed away and they had to split with her siblings into the care of relatives.
In her comedy skits which mainly circulate on social media platforms, she embodies an abusive and authoritative employer who mistreats her maid Melinda.
Tyra said initially all she wanted to do was get people to confront their problems and find solutions although she later got encouragement to embark onto acting.
“For a long time I worked as a house maid both in Zimbabwe and South Africa where I had some of the wickedest experiences. It later became an inspiration and main theme for my comedy skits.
I would like to think the Zimbabwean audience loved how natural everything came out, for me it has never been about ‘acting’ but reliving my past experiences and bringing them to people to tackle various modern day social issues. Most of my fans always say they relate to the comedy skits I have produced over the years, which is highly fulfilling to me as an artiste,” she told The Inspired Africa.
Tyra said her love for the arts was restricted to singing as she got fulfillment whenever she sang in church.
But as they say, you can never hide good quality for too long, what started off as a joke to her family members ended up being a turning point in her life.
“My love and passion had always been in the music industry as a gospel singer. Whenever I performed in church, it gave me a satisfying feeling and this is something I saw myself doing for the rest of my life until one day I did a comedy skit which I shared on our family WhatsApp group. A relative of mine then started forwarding the video skit to other people and soon it went viral,” she said.
“I remember one day my husband asking me to open a Facebook page, which I did, started posting more videos and that was the birth of Madam Boss.”
With comedy however, she has been to Europe rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest Zimbabwean names like Oliver Mtukudzi, Jah Prayzah and Winky D among others and will also be embarking on a tour of Australia and America in November.
She said she remains grateful to her fans that have made it easier for her to monetise her efforts.
Apparently, she has become one of the glaring successes of the social media revolution who have productively used technology for business and growth.
“Because of my fans I have been able to monetise general likes on Facebook into an ever growing business model. The comedy skits have paved way for me to be booked for endorsements, MC gigs, television and radio adverts as well as adverts on my social media platforms,” said Tyra.
She said her comedy carrier has also been a stepping stone for other revenue streams for instance a kindergarten nursery, Tyra’s Corner that she has opened in Harare and has thus far been thriving.
“I believe when you do something you love, with all your heart God will richly reward you, the money always follows,” she said.
Her manager Batsie Masvinge said: “Madam Boss is by far one of the most talented artistes I have worked with; a natural artiste who is well loved by fans and very grounded in all her dealings. It is a pleasure to work with her and as we get into the last quarter of the year with an Australian tour. We have a lot in store for Madam Boss fans, with a Television Talk show in the pipeline and a bigger world tour starting February 2018.”