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Oga Obinna:I don’t need to explain myself

My Man

When Oga Obinna, 27, first came into the limelight as a comedian, his rags to riches story (he lived as a streetboy when he first came to Nairobi) inspired many. Shirley Genga speaks to him about coming of age as a radio and TV presenter and musician


What would you say you do for a living?


I am an all-round entertainer. Apart from my work as a comedian, radio presenter, TV presenter and musician, I’m also a brand ambassador (for Uber, Deacon and Golden Tulip) and a social media influencer. Plus, I am a business man, I have an entertainment company that does events and artist management.


When did you get your big break in the Kenyan entertainment scene?


It was through comedy and it was not intentional, it was not something I sort out. In fact, I like to say that comedy chose me. Back then, I was a dance hall musician and ‘Mshamba’ was doing his show Kenya Kona Comedy where I was performing. I guess maybe Mshamba saw something in me because he asked me to do some jokes because he believed I was funny. At the time I was getting paid Sh200-500 for my performance, and those doing comedy were at getting Sh1,000, and I needed the money and so I became a comedian. From there, I joined the Kajairo Show then the Comedy Club, Breaktime Show and finally Offside. It’s a process that has taken about 7 years.

Was it as easy at it sounds?


Of course not. The biggest problem was undercutting as everyone who knows you is your agent. For example, a friend in the industry can call you to perform at an event and tell you the owner can only pay you, say, Sh50,000. Then later you find out that the event organiser paid Sh200,000 for your performance and that your friend took home Sh150,000 for the work you did. It very distasteful. Other times you perform at an event and then, after that, the event organiser refuses to pay. I have learnt the hard way to have a standard payment for myself and I do not go below that price, plus I do not perform without at least receiving half the payment. These days, I have a management team that deals with that, my only job is to perform. There is a lot of hunger in the industry especially for upcoming comedians which is understandable, but it results in them under selling themselves and this messes with industry pay standards.


What was the lowest point you reached in your career, a point where you almost gave up and how did you overcome?


The industry is a roller coaster, it is up and down. When you are dealing with everything from a slow season, to false stories about you doing rounds, to undercutting, it is easy to lose hope. However, what I have learnt in my seven years of my career is that dark seasons do not last forever, and so if you hold on long enough you will not only see your career grow but personal growth.


How do you believe that your comedic style has grown over the years?


I am now more composed and having lost my costume hat and Agbada, I believe that now I am more professional than ever.


What inspires your Nigerian comedic style?


My mother is Igbo and my dad Kenyan, and I believe that it is my Nigerian roots that inspire my comedic style. I love the Nigerian attitude and loudness


Word on the street is that you have a special woman, tell us about that?


What makes you so sure I have one?


Rumours abound about an exclusive wedding is happening this year, when is this special day?


If it happens it will be private. I do not want to excite a lot of people who probably will not be invited.


You are also a father, what do you enjoy most about being a father?


I love the fact that my children are crazy like their father. I currently have four kids, one boy and three girls that I have confirmed. They are funny, hardworking and Intelligent. I absolutely love coming home they always run shouting daddy and give the best hugs. It really is the best feeling ever.


I also love playing with my kids, a lot of parents have kids but they never really get their hands dirty and play with their kids, and when you do that is how you get to know your child’s personality and character, and get to bond with them. My kids and I are close to the point they tell me things that they do not tell even their mom or teacher.


You have a number of baby mamas; how do you make that work with the kids?


You just have to man up and most importantly understand that when all is said and done, a child is always innocent and that they must always be protected. I love all my children and take care of all of them. It is not easy dealing with different adult personalities, but I have also come to learn that nobody in this world is perfect and that we all deserve grace, that is why I always put the child first, even if we have a disagreement with the mother, I make sure that the child is not exposed to it or made to suffer for it. It is all about unconditional love, balance and being considerate.


What legacy do you hope to leave behind for your kids?


Make the world a better happy place. Love more and help when you can. Also I am always telling them to share and hope that they will be givers.


What is the craziest thing a fan has ever done?


You get some crazy offers from fans, example, fans have sent flight tickets so you just visit them and eat with their family. The one that really touched me most was a lady fan who saw me and started crying and trembling, I did not even know what to do. She wanted a hug which I gave and she held me for a long time and continued to cry. You would think I was a dead person who came back to life. I later learnt that she was a big fan. We have never met again; I hope she is well.


What do you prefer, an independent and modern wife or do you prefer the traditional wife, and why?


I think I will go for an independent modern wife with traditional values. I support any woman who goes out and also makes her own money but also respects her man, and can cook. I love eating good food.

What is the biggest pet peeve that Kenyan men have about Kenyan women?


They cannot cook to save their lives, and only know how to order take out, plus are lazy. A lady you are dating will only know how to call you when they are thinking about drinking Jameson, taking shisha, or they want to see Davido; they never call you to come over so they can cook for you. At least the one I have is a great cook.


Secondly, a good number seem to believe that being a virgin is the worst thing that any woman can do, like some kind of a disease and do not see the pride in it. They really shock me as they are often so proud to announce that they are not virgins.


Lastly, I cannot stand the way they walk and move in kirendes and never think as an individual, example, they will only date or even talk to you if their posse think you are worthy.



What is the craziest rumour you have ever heard about yourself?


So many, but I deal with them by keeping silent. I have learnt that I do not need to explain myself to the world. They do not know the inner me, and yes they don’t owe me anything and I don’t owe them anything either.


If you were stranded in an island for three months and you could only carry three things with you, what would you carry and why?


My phone for communication, I want my kids with me for happiness and their mom to help me.

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