|Teacher Wanjiku Photo: Courtesy|
Arguably the biggest and wittiest female comedian in Kenya, Teacher Wanjiku demystifies herself, uncovering her private life as she talks about dating, her daughter and how life has changed after her great breakthrough
Pulse: Who is Teacher Wanjiku?
Teacher Wanjiku: In my comedy character, I am a humble artiste trying to make a living. I am a single mother of a young daughter who will be joining class one next year. I live in Dandora, Nairobi.
P: When did you make your debut in acting and comedy?
TW: Well, Wanjiku was a character from a Heartstrings play called 43rd Kenyan tribe. That was four years ago. The director was very impressed. I realised I could make people laugh. Two years later, I made a comeback through the Churchill Live show where I did the first show on the laptops for schools debate. From that, I got over 200,000 views on Youtube, the most views ever in the show. After the exposure, the offers got crazy.
P: The classroom skits are super hilarious and out of the box. Who comes up with the concepts?
TW: It is a group contribution. I come up with the ideas and write the skit lessons then the panel hammers it out and the director, Victor Ber, gives direction and approvals.
P: How do you come up with the final skit?
TW: We do rehearsals from Tuesday to Thursday. It is a passionate exercise and one has to go through scripts over and over to come with the final piece.
P: How long have you been acting?
TW: Eight years now. However, I got my big break in February this year thanks to the Churchill show.
P: The season is coming to an end. What next for teacher Wanjiku?
TW: I have big plans after the season ends in February (next year). I am busy working on some big acting projects. I will reveal the plans when the right time comes.
P: Is Teacher Wanjiku a perpetual character or was it just for the Churchill show?
TW: She is a perpetual character. Character accents can be seasonal. You can not keep on cracking jokes the same way every time as your fans will get bored with you. The character will soon change.
P: So we will soon be able to see another side of Teacher Wanjiku or you, in your true personality?
TW: Lets say Teacher Wanjiku will expose her true self come next year. Brace yourselves up!
P: Do you ever get tired of cracking jokes?
TW: As a teacher? Never! Sometimes the character is even funny to me, so funny that I even laugh at my teacher image. I want to believe am funny.
P: What is one misconception people have of you?
TW: I hear people asking why I shrub so much. They also wonder why I dress like a clown. I am not going to answer them yet.
P: Is comedy what you grew up wanting to do?
TW: Wanjiku never wanted to be a teacher but ‘Teacher’ is now shaping up Wanjiku and my fans are having the last laugh on this.
P: How is it being a celebrity and a single mum?
TW: I love it. My daughter is also funny and she could probably take the stage one day.
P: You are the Airtel ambassador. How did you hit that jackpot…I mean, I am told its good money?
TW: I got a call from them (Airtel) and at first I thought it was all but a joke. It was the first major endorsement deal in my acting career. Their creative team is fantastic. We more or less think alike and that made things easy for both sides.
P: What has changed since this mega breakthrough?
TW: Well, honestly, it was a great deal. I can’t complain. Now, when people see me in a matatu they wonder why I am not driving my own car. Some even say since then, I have developed a new accent…English so to speak…
P: But has this helped to complement your comedy act?
TW: Definitely. It has turned my life around. This is great exposure. I was in Kisumu and Siaya recently and everyone knows me from the advert they see on TV and the posters. It has pushed me to another level.
P: What do you do when you’re not acting?
TW: I love swimming and reading.
P: How is the comedy platform for women considering it is a male dominated?
TW: Starting out can be real hard. It takes a lot of patience. The problem with most lady comedians is that they don't take their act seriously. To them, it is more or less a sideshow plan.
P: How is it like…dating Teacher Wanjiku?
TW: Well, I am open-minded and I am human as well. When someone comes along, we shall see how that goes. One day, I may come to the show with a husband…who knows?