Kenyan drama ‘Nganya’ opens on iflix

Sunday November 25 2018

The cast, crew and production team of Kenya-produced original drama series

The cast, crew and production team of Kenya-produced original drama series "Nganya" pose for a photo during its premier on November 22, 2018 at Club Sands in Hurlingham, Nairobi. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU 

HILLARY KIMUYU
By HILLARY KIMUYU
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A new original Kenyan production created by Nice Githinji, “Nganya” premiered on Kwesé iflix on Thursday night to users across Africa.

The new show is a 13-part drama series full of action and done in sheng, with an option of English subtitles.

Produced by Kenyan production house, Assignments Studios, “Nganya” is a gritty Swahili drama centred around the matatu business in Nairobi’s Eastlands. In a criminal underworld teeming with shady characters, our hapless matatu team soon find themselves tangled in a web of corruption and deceit.

The public transport industry in Kenya can be associated with cartels, crime, drugs, prostitution and heavily corrupt police involvement. Gathee, the taxi driver, and his conductor, Jamoe, operate a 27-seater mini bus, commonly known as Nganya, on a route in Eastlands, the “crime centre” of Nairobi City. Gathee is the experienced one while Jamoe is the rookie. Even though they are not always the best of friends, they have created a good working relationship in order to survive. Gathee, a husband and father, is leading a double life and hiding a deep secret from his wife. So overwhelmed by competing needs, he makes bad decisions in his attempts to ensure the safety and well-being of his family. Jamoe, new to the industry and rough around the edges, takes on dangerous work to put more money on the table.

Speaking to ActScene, Ms Githinji said that she created the show four years ago and tried to hawk it to local stations, but it wasn’t until several months ago that Kwesé iflix picked it up. “It wasn’t an easy sell, most of the stations rejected it and told me that it was not what they wanted. Others told me to go back and change the content to be a little “friendly”. I thank Kwesé iflix for believing in our work and picking up the series.”

The show features a talented all-star Kenyan cast consisting of Maina wa Ndung’u, Mbeki Mwalimu, Isaac Kiarie, Peter Oruka, Jerry Mokua, Mwaura Bilal, Tim King’oo and Nice Githinji who plays Malaika.

Githinji also disclosed that they had already finished shooting season two and that the third season will start its production in 2019. Asked why she chose to do it in sheng, she said, “Why not? We see South Africa peddling their shows with languages that we do not understand, and even Nigeria does the same. We have Sheng and it is our language. Besides, how many matatu people have you met calling or talking to you in English?”

2018 marks the launch of Kwesé iflix’s original programming, with a slate comprising local scripted drama, raw stand-up comedy, plus pan-regional alternative news and live coverage. Such innovative content encompasses many firsts for African entertainment.

Kwesé iflix CEO, Mayur Patel said, “Our exclusive original production, “Nganya”, underlines this company’s ambition to be part of the entertainment revolution in our markets.”

He added that they are excited to be releasing this drama series for their users to download and watch.

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