Gerald Langiri
January 20 / 2012

FilmBiz Africa Magazine , with the help of actors.co.ke embarked on a mission to find the top 10 actors in Kenya to be featured in their next edition of the magazine dubbed “The creme de la creme of acting in Africa“. Actors.co.ke put up a questionnaire asking their followers to suggest names of actors that they feel are the best, spread it and let the public and fellow actors vote for the names being jolted down by ticking against the name. The questionnaire ran for 6 days and the counting of the votes was done as at Monday, 16th January 2012. 1930hours.

Names were suggested and some being names that would make one go “Yeah, that name deserves to be there“ and other names that made people go “Who is that? “ From veterans in the acting industry to newbie’s, 100 names were put up and the voting got underway. Actors.co.ke in an official statement in their facebook page, thanked everyone who took time to vote and leave their comments. 3189 votes were submitted with 439 people following the proceedings. 307 comments were placed on the page during the voting period and I did not even count the number of likes and shares.

PS: The Editor of the magazine Chiaka Desmond will add 5more names chosen by her, to the list of the 10 actors chosen by the public, who will feature in the magazine. The names listed below are arranged in alphabetical order. Get a copy of the next edition of FilmBiz Africa Magazine to know who exactly gathered the most votes.

Click here to get the Full list of nominated actors and the votes they received.
Sex Name
M Ali mpenzi
F Brenda Wairimu
M Elsaphan Njora
M Gerald Langiri
M Gitau Ngogoyo
F Hellen Waithera
M Kenneth Ambani
F Lizz Njagah
F Nice Githinji
F Nini Wacera
F Pierra Makena
M Raymond Ofula
F Serah Ndanu
F Veronicah Mwaura
M Wilfred Olwenya

After the voting process actors.co.ke, asked: “After sampling some of the responses we received during the voting, we cannot help but wonder, do we really know our Kenyan actors?“

My word, the responses that were put down would have either made you take a knife and stub some of the people writing ( from an actor’s point of view that is) or hug some of those people for hitting the nail on the head for speaking out (from a public/fans point of view) . The voting exercise to find out the best of the best actors in Kenya raised the following issues for me:

1. Kenyan actors are not known

Apart from the few who have constantly been on our faces and TV screens, we really do not know the amount of other talented actors that are hidden behind the scenes or doing theatre for example. Even those who are in the public light most of the time are referred to by their character names and not their real names. The public, the people we wake up every day in the morning to go to work for. The people we make shows for do not know our actors. It is a shame. I have asked a few actors why they think this is so and there are those who believe that, it is the work of the production houses to market their actors to the public, something which is not done. Ideally, movies or series should be based around actors. In Kenya, it is the other way round. A movies worth is based on who produced it yet If a movie sucks, we do not say the production house sucked, we say so and so actor sucked in that move. Which reminds me of the article The dead bankability of the kenyan actor . Other actors are of the opinion that, it is not their work to get known by the public. Theirs is to act, get paid and go back home something I totally disagree with. I believe, as an actor and the mere fact that you are always in people’s faces either on TV or theater, you get a following. Call them your fans if you will. You do get known and acting is show biz. Yes, true actors are not to do this for the fame but fame cannot escape you if you have been acting for the longest time. Unless of course you are a bad self centered actor. A fan posed the question, what have the actors done for the public in order for them to get known? Some went ahead to say that our actors do not interact with people with example of social network snobness being put across. Actors do not respond to questions asked by their Fans for example. We have a lot of new talents coming up and they look up to actors who are there or have been there to get to hear their stories to give them hope. However, most people claim, established actors do not respond. This leads me to my next point.

2. Most Kenyan actors are full of IT

I use the term IT loosely to mean anything ranging from shit to egomaniacs jerks who either really do not care about or realize the impact they have to feeling high and mighty and that the world really revolves around them. Someone raised a point about how Kenyan actors dress being a factor to why Kenyan actors are not really appreciated by the public. From an actor’s point of view, I being an actor, my first reaction is to call that IT (again IT has been used loosely to mean anything from crap to bullshit). However, from a public’s point of view, I can relate. We have seen them. The actors, who came out of nowhere, appeared in a show or two all humbled up and now, they have sun glasses on whenever and wherever they go to. Dare you say hi to them and you get that cold look of “excuse me, how dare you say hi to me? Don’t you know who I am?“ And yes, at times we do not know who you are and that is why I came to say hi to you because you look familiar and I just wanted to confirm if you really are the one. Kenyan actors you have to start realizing that you are looked up to. You are actually ambassadors in your own right. You are the people going to get endorsement deals and be in advertisements. Through that, you will most definitely get supporters and fans. The fans are the people going to build you and support you. No production house will want to work with an actor who is full of IT (IT being...well you know by now). However good an actor you may be, your personality and character are more important than your talent. Yes, there is something expected of our conduct and behavior. I know that is a lot of pressure and work but who said acting is easy. You want to be an actor, you have to conform. Then again, from an actor’s point of view, the fans can be full of IT too (it being, too judgmental, too inquisitive, too so much in your business, too stalkish, too expectant of us) and perhaps, all that attention can change an actor and make them be too protected and perhaps, abit arrogant to protect themselves. At the end of the day, we are both humans. The actor and the fan relationship is a tricky one. We can choose what comes out of our mouths next and what action to take. Not all actors are full of IT I must add. I have met and interacted with actors who inspire you and just make you feel like you are in the right career. The amusing thing about these actors is that, they are the old generation actors. The new generation actors are the ones coming up with this attitude of they are IT. Perhaps, we new breeds should take a step back and learn from our elders.

3. Kenyan actors have supporters

This basically emphasizes my point of you do have fans. If you are an actor and you think that you work is to go act and go back home, think again. You have people who love you and support you and when they grow up, they would like to be like you. 3189 votes in 6 days is an impressive number. We work for our fan because, without them, we would not be making movies if we do not have an audience. No one is saying, let us now drive big cars and live in fancy houses just to please the fan. What I am saying is a little courtesy will go a long way. Smile; kill the shades when there is no sun or when you are in a club. Interact with your supporters. Respond to their mails and queries. Do not put up a status and when they respond to it, you ignore the comments. Loose the pride. Support them as much as they are supporting you. Let us stop pretending or acting as if we are too high handed for the common mwananchi. As for you supporters, we are human too, at times, we need a break.

4. How do you judge who a good actor is?

This point goes to ask, what were your votes based on? We were looking for the best of the best actors in Kenya and you look at the names being put across and the votes they were getting and you could not help but wonder why is he or she there or why is so and so not getting votes?

“Is the judgment on who is a great actor based on one performance or a continued display of great performances? Is it based on the role the actor plays: ie if she can be sexy then that makes her a great actress (unfortunately that seems to be the case here) what guidelines are we judged by? Is it how friendly I am when you see me on the street? Is it by the charity work we publicly declare we do or do not do? “Those were questions posed by Nini Wacera. Please do leave a comment on this question because the definition will vary. What should be noted however is this, however good an actor you maybe, if you cannot rally the masses to vote for you, your acting is as good as you staying with it. It was a public vote, meaning, if you as an actor felt you deserve to be in that list, all you had to do was ask your followers to vote for you. I saw a few actors on the list that did that and rallied their followers, for those who did not, why dint you? I actually saw some names being added by actors themselves. Actors who are very talented but never got included in the list. Worse is, actors who I feel are really good had less votes than I did yet am fairly new in this industry.

Perhaps little time was given for those votes to come in and sure, the larger masses were not reached and only facebook was used to cast the votes. That does not however leave the fact that you are not acting for you alone. Unless you are the kind of actor whose main aim is money.You need to open yourself up to the market at large and market yourself. As for our fans and followers, we thank you for your support.

Your comments are highly appreciated.

: Written By Gerald Langiri

Share this post

Other Posts


Posted on Jan 19, 2012

During the festive season, I happened to be shopping for new attire (yes, it was Christmas time and I needed brand new clothes to rock on and it has always been a tradition since we were all siblings and I am still holding to that) in one of the stalls in Nairobi of which I barely do cause I am always loyal to my Gikomba peeps. The place I was shopping at was directly opposite to a stall that...


Posted on Jan 10, 2012

I bumped into a renowned actor sometime back. We exchanged starters and the inquisitive me just had to ask “How come we do not see you on TV or hear about you and your acting anymore like we used to?“ Her response was “These young girls are the ones in demand nowadays. It is hard to get projects my brother“. At that particular point in time, her response was just but anothe...


Posted on Jan 09, 2012

It was a cold, rainy night in the middle of November when I lay on the couch, all alone in the sitting room. As the weather was freezing, I was bundled up in my thickest sweater and thickest socks, with a thick wooly hat perched on my head. In front of me was the television illuminating the entire room since I had switched off the overhead lights. Now that I think about it, the whole setting ...


Posted on Dec 14, 2011

Kilele’s production of Death and the estate encapsulated the greed, horror and immorality within a small community where moral boundaries are apparently lacking. The plays’ title and short synopsis on the promotional materials left one with high anticipation of a suspense-ridden, fast paced tale full of twists, turns and thrills as most thrillers are wont to have. In Death and...