Jacky Vike: It's me, yawa!

Saturday November 24 2012

Jacky Vike



Where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate before going to Western for my high school education.

Tell us about your family

I’m the third born in a family of four, my younger brother passed on in 2010. I also lost my father when I was young. So it’s me my mom my older brother and two sisters.

How old are you?

You don’t ask women about their age. I’m in my early twenties.

When did you start acting?

I started appearing on stage when I was in Class Four. I took part in choral verses and music. But it was not until the national drama festivals while in secondary school when seasoned storyteller Joel Kennedy Otukho noticed me and advised that I needed to go further with my acting.

Otukho told me to go to Kenya National Theatre for auditions after I was through with school. I did that and joined Theatrerix – Ensemble productions where I acted secondary school set books.

A year later I got a chance to work with Heartstrings and acted in the popular play News made in Kenya. I also acted in NTV’s drama series Wash and Set as a school girl. In 2009 I featured in the local football series The Team.

How did you break into Papa Shirandula?

I met Charles Bukeko during an audition for a documentary in late 2009. He was in the panel and when he spotted my talent approached me for the Awinja role.

I was skeptical about it at first, because I have never done accents and didn’t know I could pull one, but ended up nailing it!

When I was confirmed for the role, I visited my friend and stayed at her place for two days. I was studying her house help who was Luhya.

What was your mother’s reaction?

My mother was so much against it because I did a lot of travelling theatre and would spend nearly a month away from home. I was young and that worried her a lot. Also she wanted me to do Air Cabin Crew, which I enrolled and quit after a semester. My heart was simply not in it.

How was your first day on set?

I always look back to that day and laugh at myself. I was an extra for a documentary called Unseen, unsung and unforgotten. My role was just to walk past the camera. I was shaking as I did it and after that rushed to my friend asking her, “how was it? Did I walk properly?”

Who is your greatest motivator?

My mom; she’s an admirable and very strong woman. She’s counselled me and given me all the support I need in everything that I undertake.

If given a chance, who would you like to be for a day?

I wouldn’t wish to be a specific person but a man! I would like to know how it feels like to pee in public! To just unzip and pee on a wall in the open.

What’s the one thing, you can’t live without?

I can’t live without God. Though I’ve never seen Him I believe that He guides events in my life. I also think I can’t live without my mom.

Tell me something funny

Haha! jokes don’t come that easily.

Tell us something you hate doing. Why?

I hate lying because I hate being lied to.

What’s the silliest thing you have heard people say about Awinja?

There have been many. But one that I’ll never forget is one day I was in town and two Kikuyu ladies recognised me. They started talking to each other – “ni ko?” “Ii ni ko, kai koi tauni?” Translates to – “Is she the one?” “Yes she is; you mean she knows the city?”

You’ve also featured in Nairobi Half Life.

Yes, I act as a prostitute in the film.

Who is your favourite actress?

Taraji Penda Henson

Why do you enjoy watching her?

She’s really good at playing diverse roles. I like that about her.

Do you think comedic abilities are something someone either has or doesn’t? Or do you think it’s something that can be learned?

I believe it is both ways.

Ok, I had to add just one more question. If you were to give advice to our readers who aspire to develop their comedy, whether through writing or performing, what would you suggest?

They should not be afraid to venture into comedy. The greatest mistake that women make regarding comedy is the fear to be judged negatively. If they believe they have what it takes, they should not hold back but give it a try.