Unless you are living under a rock, you must have heard about the guy who was a suicide bomber twice and gives Osama nightmares.
His name is Makmende, has taken Kenya by storm all in a span of one week forcing the Wall Street Journal to take note. Buzz talks to the man who plays him, 24-year-old KEVIN ‘K1’ MAINA and reveals some of his “master’s” secrets:
Buzz: Why K1?
K1: It's a name I have had for years. I have a friend called Kevin Maina and he is K2.
Did you anticipate the kind of reception and reaction Makmende has caused?
To be honest, we were all taken by surprise. We never planned anything apart from a good video for an equally good song.
It has been a week of pleasant surprises, the video was uploaded on You Tube on Wednesday night and by Friday, and we were all watching the reaction on the Internet with shock.
What has surprised you about the way Kenyans have received the Ha He video?
The level of creativity in coming up with the Makmende facts. Kenyans are bloody creative I tell you.
The facts kept on coming and they got better and better until we had to set up a website, makmende.com. Its intense and crazy and being involved in such a role is an honour.
How did you end up playing the Makmende role?
The first time I heard “Ha he” while it was still raw, I told Blinky of Just-A-Band that I would like to be in the video whenever it is they do it.
So one day, I am at their house visiting, they were discussing the making the video, and they just chose me.
Just like that?
They were discussing about the main character and how they wanted him to have an 80’s look since that’s when the Makmende hype was at its peak and they looked at me and said I fit the role because of my hair. There were no auditions, just being at the right place at the right time.
Have you ever acted before?
Yes, but mostly in church plays at Nairobi Baptist Church although I was involved in a musical with Sterling Q. I was also on Just-A-Band’s “Usinibore” video.
Did they have a specific role or image they wanted Makmende to have?
They wanted a humorous character but who is a bad guy just like Makmende of the 80’s. They had scripted the video brilliantly, we were a good cast, and here we are now, in awe of this brilliant production.
Why do you think it has been such a hit?
It is a combination of different factors. The song is very good to start with, the video quality is top notch and its different from the club scenes we see in many Kenyan videos, the mature humour, production and so on.
But I believe one of the biggest reasons was because it was its time and everything conspired to make it great. Plus, Makmende would have hunted us down if it flopped!
How long did it take to shoot the video?
It was a one-day shoot. We started just before noon and finished in the evening.
Kenya’s first viral success, has it sunk in yet?
No, everyday there is something different and more creative than yesterday’s. It is unbelievable.
Are you a superstar now?
Not yet but I am getting knowing looks in town and people scream Makmende when they see me. Its crazy but I can get used to it.
Plus, my mom called me asking me what it is this she was hearing about me and she was proud of me although she is yet to watch the video.
Will you continue playing the character?
That is up to the directors and Makmende himself. He decides who plays him and I would be lucky if I have to play him twice!
What do you do?
I am a freelance graphics designer but I also have a passion for music, photography, acting, poetry, and I have modelled once like two years ago. I also love playing instruments like the guitar and piano.
Have we seen you on TV?
I was on “The Presenter” but I was removed during the early rounds and I have had some radio experience with the former Power Radio.
I love the media and would love to get into TV or Radio in whatever part that would allow me to express myself freely because I am very creative and fun!
Word has it that you are saved?
Yes I am. I have been saved since I was in Form 1 and I live true to His word. I am the last born in a family of three, all boys.