In only three years, Blessing Lung’aho has made a name for himself with his roles in two of Kenya’s most popular telenovelas - Maria and Zora. Recently, the Kalasha-nominated actor has pivoted into something different from what he is used to - playing the vengeance-seeking Dom in a new original Kenyan thriller series, Igiza.
Launched in May, Igiza follows Serah Ndanu as Linda and Nicole, twin sisters caught in an unending bitter war. Lung’aho’s Dom stands on one side of this sibling rivalry as Nicole’s accomplice, the man on the outside who helps her set her plans in motion.
But Dom has a lot more at stake in this revenge mission than he lets on when we first meet him. His mother Salome (played by Sheila Ndanu, Maria) is serving a life sentence and is Nicole’s ally in prison. And Dom himself is a “prison baby,” as Lung’aho describes him.
“His mother was wrongly imprisoned. And because of that, she had to give birth to Dom in prison. He (Dom) has lived his entire life trying to vindicate his mum. So we start the story when he has finally come up with a plan that might work,” Lung’aho says.
This plan starts with Nicole escaping from prison and taking over Linda’s seemingly perfect life, with Dom as her connection to the outside world. Both will stop at nothing to take back what they are owed.
“The most interesting thing about playing Dom is that he is motivated. You know how all of us want to make our mothers proud. That’s it for him. It is exciting playing someone that driven,” Lung’aho says.
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Before he got this role in Igiza, Lung’aho had just wrapped up playing Sarah Hassan’s wealthy heartthrob in Citizen TV’s telenovela Zora. Dom is a new challenge for him. “It is unlike anything I have played before,” he says of the series showing on the Showmax.
“In Igiza, the stakes are high because, at any point (spoiler alert), anyone can die. So every second counts, unlike in a telenovela where the story can be stretched.”
Lung’aho also introduces a bulkier form on Igiza. One of his preparations for the role was to gain weight to fit into what the director, Abdi Shuria, had in mind.