RARE  RISINGSTARS 2014 The UK’s Top 10 Black Students
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No. 9

 

KWAME ASANTE

MBBS BSc Medicine
University College London
Arts and Sport
Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan


Born to Ghanaian parents who were a midwife and a consultant, and with a younger brother who is also an aspiring medic, one might be forgiven for thinking that there was only ever one path that Kwame would go down. Kwame says himself that the dinner time chats about patients and procedures undoubtedly inspired his interest in Medicine and, in turn, his academic choices. However, the two great loves of Kwame’s life sprang from the playground rather than the dining table.

His time at St Olave’s School in Orpington uncovered two talents: rugby and comedy. Being a player in the school’s first XV made the former more obvious; the latter was only truly realised after his Year 12 performance of the first ever stand‑up routine in the school talent show’s history.

"To live a creative life, we must first lose our fear of being wrong." – Joseph Chilton Pearce

Kwame is the first to admit that the rapturous reception he got from a captive audience was a far cry from the horrific first gig experiences of most of his contemporaries on the London comedy circuit. Whilst he went on to play to tougher crowds, that first show definitely gave him great confidence in his comedic ability, and has allowed him to take creative risks. This foundation has helped him to go on to receive acclaim as an award‑winning comic and one of the most talented in the country.

Despite the obvious comparison, Kwame is definitely no Harry Hill. Using his natural charisma and on‑stage presence to play against the audience’s expectations, Kwame’s comedy is fresh, intelligent and – most importantly – very, very funny! He has an observational style and his material touches on a wide variety of topics, drawing humour from his Ghanaian background, as well as his childhood, relationships and student life.

After he started gigging in 2010, Kwame very quickly reached the final of the Leicester Square New Comedian Of The Year. Since then, he has won the Chortle Student Comedian of the Year, was a finalist in the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year in 2013, and has recently made radio and television appearances on BBC Radio 1 and London Live, respectively. He has been named as ‘one to watch’ by Time Out and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, Latitude Festival and the Udderbelly Festival on London’s Southbank.

"I think, now more than ever, the story of someone who ‘makes the most out of everything’ holds just as much importance as that of someone who ‘makes something out of nothing."

Despite the demands of juggling a hectic gig schedule, preparation for his upcoming debut solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014, and the small matter of his medical degree, Kwame has not forgotten his other passion: he recently became the first black president in the history of UCL Medical School Rugby Club, which was found in the mid‑19th century and is one of the top university sides in London. He is also a part‑time adult scout leader at his old troop, 5th Beckenham South, where he was a scout for over five years.

It seems that Kwame is a modern day polymath who is destined to excel in any field he turns his hand to. Hopefully his next hobby will be achieving world peace!


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