Where did the teen pioneers go?
Even before Instagram took over, even before Netflix became a thing, even before Youtube became the big thing, there was Baha, Govi, Almasi, Fatso and Stella. These young TV sensations made every teenager fall in love with TV and nobody thought any of that would change.
Machachari, the teen show that debuted on Citizen TV in 2011 took the entertainment scene by storm. It became a household favourite and made the young talented actors in the show a household name within no time. They became the classic Kenyan Wayans in the film industry.
Fast forward to 2019, the once young naïve but talented actors have morphed into more vocal, fashionable, entrepreneurial and even handsome, cute young lads. When they first hit the screens, everybody fell in love with them and they garnered a massive fan base that has stuck by them till date.
The young, energetic vibe that these young kids brought to our screens at a time when the older fast fading vibe had dominated the industry won almost everyone’s hearts. They brought a new kind of creativity that nobody was ready for. Even though the fan base has remained constant, some of these young stars have since retired from the show and some taken a low key lifestyle. The question is where are they now?
KAMAU MBAYA AKA BAHA
Kamau Mbaya aka Tyler Mbaya was one of the luckiest chaps that pioneered the Machachari show as Baha. His once rogue character on the show made him to really stand out since his character related with so many teens. This was a huge stepping stone for him as an actor and a local celebrity at the same time.
I think y’all remember how he used to hate school right? Being given the opportunity to play a cheeky role in the show gave him a chance to bring out some very relatable teen experiences, like who doesn’t remember snoozing in class after downing a mouthful of ugali and beans for lunch? And worst of all, attending a Maths class after that… However, Tyler Mbaya has grown up to become one of the youngest successful entrepreneurs in the film industry.
After taking a break from the show, Mbaya started his own production company called Kamau Mbaya Pictures. The company has grown hugely in recent years, doing various commercials and short films for his Youtube channel. Even though we are yet to see his works on TV, Mbaya promises that it’s coming very soon. He has also won various awards including being included in the MNET Africa Wall of Fame.
MALIK LEMWEL AKA GOVI
Govi was the life of Machachari man! He played a character every kid loved. His passion for sports and genius reflections brought it all out. He simply nailed the character, something he credits for the character harmonizing with his personality. He inspired very many teens to balance their passion with studies.
Malik has since also taken a break from the show to focus on other projects which include featuring in adverts and TV commercials. He has worked on adverts for Dettol, Tunza Clinic, Famila Uji and PSI. As he looks into pursuing a career in Hollywood alongside the likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Malik insists that he still wants to build on his acting career in the country and the continent before venturing outside.
IAN NENE AKA ALMASI
Even though Ian Nene has become a controversial figure in the Kenyan entertainment scene, we can’t deny the fact that he created some very unforgettable moments in the show. His charismatic and social nature in the show garnered him a huge fan base that still stays loyal to Ian despite the controversies that cloud his good character.
Ian Nene who took a break from the show to pursue further studies abroad says he doesn’t really care what people say and remains focused on his studies and acting career. Ever since he relocated to the UK for studies, controversial stories have been following the star despite how far he is from home.
Claims that he had succumbed to drug abuse and dropped out of school went into cold water after he flew abroad for studies but that didn’t stop there. His sexuality came into question after stepping out wearing a skirt and posting a questionable photo with a male friend. He neither denied nor accepted the claims as true. However, speculations into his sexuality still continue to cloud the star’s acting career and threatening to erase what was once a perfect reputation drawn from his Machachari days.
NATASHA WANJIKU AKA STELLA
Stella ni steel! Who can’t remember this for sure! She was the genius of them all. She was the one who had all the book talk. She was the maths pro of Machachari. Natasha who is all grown up now has taken a break from the film industry to focus on her studies but promises to make a huge comeback once she finds the right project to match her personality.
MATHEW OWITI AKA FATSO
Fatso Bully wa mtaa… The bully of Machachari added a unique kind of spice to the show that is just unimaginable. He was the disruptor of the show. Wherever he was, there was always a unique sense of humour leave alone authenticity.
Mathew still remembers those days, “People thought I was a bully who loved eating but that was just a character. Of course, I do love eating but am not a bully.” The reputable actor is a renowned rapper, poet and writer.
Even though some of them have taken a break from our screens, we will never forget the good memories that these young talented lads created during the good old times.
They proved to the country that young talented kids could also make it big in the film industry. They challenged the big wigs like Vitimbi, Makutano Junction, Vioja Mahakamani and Papa Shirandula who had dominated our screens. They filled a gap that was once unexploited, creating a local teen show featuring our very own teen stars.