From series’ like Single Kiasi to films like Disconnect, we explore some must-watch Kenyan productions.
Crime and Justice
This mystery crime-drama series is reminiscent of Crime Scene Investigation (CSI), an enthralling American franchise about forensic crime scene investigators solving crime by following the evidence.
Kenya’s Crime and Justice, which airs on Showmax, is directed by Adam Neutzsky-Wulff, Edwin Kamau, Likarion Wainaina and David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga. The popular series stars renowned actress Sarah Hassan, celebrated actors Alfred Munyua, Maqbul Mohammed, Paul Ogola and Brian Ogola.
The Kenyan original was nominated in the Best TV Drama category at the 2021 Kalasha Awards while Sarah Hassan took home the award for Best Lead Actress in a TV Drama that year.
Click Click Bang
This 2022 film has been one of the biggest films during the last award season, picking up multiple accolades and achieving major success since its release. The film, written by Abel Mutua and directed by Philip Karanja bagged two accolades at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards in May.
Click Click Bang won the Best Movie in East Africa and the Best Indigenous Language (Swahili) at the award ceremony. And just a few months before then, the movie took home an outstanding five awards at the Kalasha International Film and TV Awards, becoming the biggest winners that evening.
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The Kenyan film bagged the awards for the Best Viewers Choice Award for a Feature Film and Best Feature Film. Ian Nyakundi, who plays Kasisi on the film won the Best Supporting Actor in a Film while the production’s make-up and hair stylist Pambo by Mel took home the award for Best Make-up and Hair.
Basil Mungai, who plays Kev took home the coveted Best Lead Actor in a Film.
A series centered around the friendship of a group of Kenyan ladies and their experiences in Nairobi, Single Kiasi is similar to shows like HBO’s Sex and The City and VH1’s Single Ladies.
The series is directed by Phillipe Bresson and stars Gathoni Mutua, Faith Kibathi, Minne Kariuki, Grace Wacuka, Dereck Bbanga and Lenana Kariba among other renowned Kenyan actors.
The show is currently on its second season, and it received nominations at this year’s Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) in the Best TV series category.
Njoro Wa Uba
Njoro Wa Uba serves comedy and social consciousness at one go. The Showmax series follows Njoro (played by Joe Kinyua) on his journey both through life and across the city as he operates his cab, highlighting a glimpse of his daily struggles as an educated taxi driver.
The series has been recognized in multiple award ceremonies- it scooped up the award for the Best TV Drama and Best Lead Actor at last year’s Kalasha Awards. The show also took home the award for Best Original Comedy Series at the 9th edition of the African Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) in May.
The first season of Country Queen was released last year to great reviews and a lot of love from Kenyans.
“The series follows the lives of ordinary Kenyans who are fighting corporate power and land grabs. Country Queen delves into urban and rural Kenya through the eyes of characters entwined by love, betrayal, and conflict,” African Folder, a website that explores African culture reports.
A captivating portrayal of the lives of boys growing up in one of Narobi’s informal settlements, Kibra, and their passion for soccer, Pepeta doesn’t disappoint. It is on its first season, and stars Brahim Ouma, Malik Lemuel, Dedan Juma, Lwanda Jawar, Avril Nyambura and other renowned personalities.
“Pepeta follows three intertwining stories. Junior is a 17-year-old talented footballer torn between the thrills of crime and the promises of soccer. Kepha is an unforgiving cop with a personal vendetta, determined to rid the streets of criminals. And Biki is an ambitious football coach determined to get Junior and his friends scouted before the barrel of the gun cuts short their dreams,” a Showmax statement on the series reads in part.
The 2022 film highlights intense realities like terrorism, racism and false news. In an interview with Okay Africa, the film’s Director Ahmed Farah said: “We are aware of the security issues in Somalia and all the mayhem. And even though we shot the film in Kenya, we had the trailer premiere in Somalia and people came around, including government officials and the media. They saw that we could tell local stories with an international level of production, stories that otherwise won’t be told by Western media.”
There are many more must-watch Kenyan films and series including Sincerely Daisy (2020), 18 Hours (2017) and Second Family, a series currently on its second season.