The Unwritten With: IAN MBUGUA – THE ARTS, FAMILY & MATURITY

Ian Mbugua is a Kenyan music teacher, an actor and he is more famously known for being a judge on the East African music reality TV show, Tusker Project Fame.

Simon Cowell is the UK’s “bad guy”, Mel B was Australia’s, and Judge Ian quickly and popularly became East Africa’s “bad guy.”

Although that’s “Judge Ian,” Ian Mbugua, is the other guy: father, husband, friend, among other things.

Here’s a little on what Ian told me about himself:

Read more The Unwritten With: IAN MBUGUA – THE ARTS, FAMILY & MATURITY

The Unwritten With: MAKAU MUTUA – ON HIS YOUTH, LAW AND BEING ANTI-AUTHORITY

Makau W. Mutua is a US Kenyan born professor of law. He is the Dean of the University at Buffalo Law School, where he is also a SUNY Distinguished Professor and the Floyd H. & Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar.” That’s Makau Mutua on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia out of the way, Makau Mutua is mainly known as a political columnist. He writes on a lot of  political Kenyan matters and it goes without staying that, in the process, he has ruffled feathers. Too many feathers at that.

Politics divides people. it angers people. And it makes people unable to control themselves. So when you’re a high-profile political writer and your job basically involves taking a clear stand and making it known to the world – it’s certain that not everyone will be smiling.

I discovered by default (social media) that Makau had stopped writing for The Nation newspaper, one of the leading papers in Kenya, and he’d made a debut to The Standard, The Nation’s rival. While many were talking and seething in anger, others were excited, jubilated. He polarises people, Makau.

Here’s what Makau Mutua comfortably shared with me when I asked for an interview.

 

Name: Makau Mutua.

Occupation: Dean of Law at Buffalo Law School in the US and political columnist for Kenya’s The Standard newspaper.

How long have you been in the US? Do you miss Kenya, or are you basically
assimilated to the US?

I’ve been in the US since 1984, although I spent a year at Fisher High School in Illinois 1974-75.

Kenya was obviously my first love.  I remember its sounds, sights, and smells fondly.  It’s an intoxicating country.  I go back two or three times a year, sometimes more. But I’ve also lived in Tanzania (1981-84) where I was exiled.  Love Tanzania too. Great people. Seductive culture. I think of myself as a global citizen.

Would it be possible for us to get through this feature without delving into
politics?

No, politics is in my blood stream.  I breathe, eat, sleep, drink politics.  Everything in life is political, by the way.

(I tried very hard to avoid it nonetheless…I think I might have been successful. )

Being a Dean of Law, is it as hard as one would imagine? 

Deaning has its ups and downs. The responsibility is awesome and a privilege. Leading scholars in a common enterprise is priceless. For me it was extra special because I am the first African-born dean of an American law school.

The alumni are truly a joy to work with and benefit from their wise counsel and support.  The school belongs to them – I am just a trustee, a steward. The students, are however, the true owners of a law school.  We are here because they are here. They’re my first priority.

What are the main similarities between universities in the US and those in Africa?

US universities are like no others in the world – not even in the Western world.  They are largely well resourced and highly valued in society.  They are the reason America is a great country.  That’s why they are a magnet for students from all over the world.

And what are the differences between university students in New York and those in Kenya?

Students in Kenya learn largely by rote, like the British, not through problem solving.  That’s not to say they aren’t as smart – they are very brilliant – but the teaching tradition is different.

What’s the most trying aspect of being a member of the faculty? 

Grading exams, many professors would agree, is trying!

Do you get nostalgic about your days as a college student?

As a student, one is totally irresponsible – I remember that state of life fondly.  I was my own master.  No longer.  Lol!  Read more The Unwritten With: MAKAU MUTUA – ON HIS YOUTH, LAW AND BEING ANTI-AUTHORITY

The Unwritten With: SERAH NDANU: ACTING IS MY ULTIMATE PASSION

Serah Ndanu featured in one of Kenya’s most popular films, The Rugged Priest. She has talent, skill and she doesn’t goof around with the job. To most people, acting is just that, “acting”, but to Serah, it’s her passion, it’s her business, it’s her livelihood.

Aside from acting, Serah at one point had a travel company, which has now taken a back seat as she focuses on her number one passion.

Serah speaks on what shooting The Rugged Priest was really like, the art (or skill) behind that pure Mombasa Swahili accent and she also mentions some of the places she’s travelled to:

Read more The Unwritten With: SERAH NDANU: ACTING IS MY ULTIMATE PASSION

The Unwritten With: LARRY ASEGO – COMEDY IS SERIOUS BUSINESS

When I asked Larry Asego, the radio presenter, for an interview, he asked me, “Are you going to ask me those bogus questions all interviewers ask? Because I have those ready on copy paste.”

I froze. This was a lot of pressure.

A month passed by before Larry and I finally got to do the interview.

Larry, is a busy man. He’s a comedian with a serious contagious sense of humour. He’s a radio host, an MC and an eloquent French speaker. He is also a doting father and he knows his food!

Larry is a guy who when quite a number of celebrities tremble when being interviewed by John Sibi Okumu, he, on the other hand, answers the questions like a boss. Like a man who’s knowledgeable; a man who knows what he’s talking about; a man who knows where he’s come from and where he’s going; a man who’s a master at his game.

Here is more on Larry Asego…

 

Name: Larry Asego

Occupation: Father, Radio Presenter, Teacher

A radio presenter, French teacher, comedian and MC, is there anything else you possibly do that’s not on that list?

Father. It’s a full time job that surpasses everything else. I’ve done a bit of TV as well.

Juggling all these gigs, what’s a typical day like?

Hectic. I’d love to wake up at 9am, but I wake up earlier than usual because my son doesn’t care about how my day is. Then I go to Alliance Francaise for my classes to teach French until around 1pm, then I head for my radio show at Classic 105 that goes until 7pm. I then go to class until 8.30pm at University of Nairobi where I’m doing my Masters.

If I have an MC gig then it probably goes until midnight or so. So I get home at like 1am. If I don’t have an MC gig, I’m probably rehearsing for a play. If I get home early, I read a bit then go to bed by around 10.30pm – 11pm. Read more The Unwritten With: LARRY ASEGO – COMEDY IS SERIOUS BUSINESS

The Unwritten With: GERALD LANGIRI – ON LIFE BEYOND ACTING

When a friend asked me to interview Gerald Langiri, I was hesitant. I’d seen him on a few shows and the few episodes I’d watched were definitely memorable.

Gerald worked as a host for an internet show called In The Forest, rightly named because it was shot in an actual forest.

However, the interviews were out of the ordinary and the guests were almost always clueless of what was going on, up until they were seated and Gerald showed up in a leopard print night gown, or with a hair brush, or actually, until he started asking the questions. He asked them questions on everything really: acting, competition, boobs, sexual orientations and even who’s sleeping with who.

Unconventional to say the least.

This saw a lady walk out on Gerald while an interview was on, another one come back and slap him in the course of a different interview and a guy show up and beat him up unexpectedly.  So yes, I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to take the risk and interview him. I wasn’t sure what to expect, until he absolutely surprised me and actually proved all the ideas I had of him wrong.

Gerald is engaging, knowledgeable and incredibly talented.  He also has such a generous spirit and openly told me about the acting world, his struggles, triumphs, ambitions and a bit about his past battle with alcohol. Oh, and also how best he prefers to devour chicken!

 

Name: Gerald Langiri but my close friends and family call me Gerry.

Occupation: Actor and Casting Director

“In the forest”…what exactly is the story behind it?

In The Forest…funny story. Being the founder of http://actors.co.ke/en/ and having so much love for Kenyan actors, I wanted a TV talk show for actors by actors so that the public could get to know more about our Kenyan actors who were not that known.

I approached two producers who thought the idea wasn’t big enough for TV. One stated,  “You don’t have a talk show to make celebrities, instead you call celebrities to a talk show.” That made me think of changing the idea and making a crazy fun talk show where, irrespective of who the guest is, someone can still watch and enjoy the show.

I then approached Alex Konstantaras, (a producer and director whose previous work have been somewhat crazy) with the idea of doing a crazy talk show and he liked the idea. We worked on it together and In The Forest came to be…called so because it’s actually shot in a forest.

It doesn’t air on TV despite it getting a large number of followers on YouTube and that is partly because TV stations are claiming it’s too edgy for TV. Some sponsors have also shied away from it as much as they love the show because it won’t sit well with their corporate image.So at the moment we are working on getting sponsors before working on another season or we might just come up with something new all together.

And House of Lungula, a brief summary on what it was about?

A sexy comedy on the sexual habits of Kenyans… a movie set to be released in October…you said briefly. 🙂 Read more The Unwritten With: GERALD LANGIRI – ON LIFE BEYOND ACTING