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Why Likobe lost urge to be an actor

Arts and Culture
 

Likobe comedian and fan pose for a photo during the River wood awards held at Alliance Francaise in Nairobi. (Photo/Edward Kiplimo).

Likobe attracted admiration and anger in equal measure in the course of his career.

Why? Because he made decisions that made his viewers and fans burst into laughter, but also reacted with fury that tormented his opponents, but made the budding Vioja Mahakamani, Vitimbi and Vituko comedy shows the most popular television programmes in the country.

Likobe thrilled his fans with antics that made the programmes a joy to watch particularly when he teamed up with Inspector Mwala occasionally in Vitimbi but prominently in Vioja Mahakamani.

“It was a moment of truth when I performed together with Mwala in both shows. It was a hilarious moment in the two shows and we built our relationships professionally before we went our separate ways,” Likobe, real name is Aurelian Mwalikumbi, told Sunday Magazine.

Coincidentally, the two actors are of the same height and are related by blood.

Likobe refers to Inspector Mwala (real name Davis Hezron Mwabili) as his uncle and both of them hail from Taita Taveta County in the coastal region.

Their acting career as a pair resembled the Nigerian pair of Nollywood celebrated actors Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikedieze.

In the early 1990s, Likobe was a permanent actor in Vituko as a houseboy of Zoa with Mombasa Mwambao being the lead actor.

He arrived in Nairobi in 1989 jobless and got into acting the same year.

Likobe was introduced into acting by Mzee Tamaa Bin Tamaa, who was his grandfather and also an actor.

He (Tamaa) ensured he started his career at Vioja Mahakamani show where the old man was a regular.

Mzee Tamaa, who is among the pioneer comedians in independent Kenya, died on February 3, 2004.

At Vioja Mahakamani, Likobe met different comedians who exposed and shaped his skills.

“It was sweet to be an actor before frustrations cropped in with lots of challenges that I could not cope with. This is when I decided to drop it,” said the retired legend who now works with the Kenya Pipeline Company based in Voi in the Coastal region.

“I decided to shift my energies elsewhere and I am happy to be where I am today,” he said.

The comedian said his name is inscribed in the annals of history books.

“When you look for me with my actual name, you may never find me. But be assured, you’ll easily get me with my comedian name,” said the 60-year-old father of two.

Likobe said the profession earned him lots of accolades.

He was bequeathed the Head of State Commendation by then President Daniel Arap Moi in 1990, a feat he said put him into national fame and status.

Like other comedians, he was a frequent visitor to State House, Nairobi, owing to frequent invitations to entertain the President and State guests.

“Those were the golden days when we did it with lots of passion. I thank God for the years I served in the industry with all my heart,” he said.

Likobe continues to serve the public, but in a different capacity - he is a philanthropist with Amani Kenya, an NGO at the Coast.

“We are trying to change the lives of the less fortunate Kenyans as we donate whatever we can for their benefit and disadvantaged families,” he said.

Amani Kenya also takes part in church activities, a development he said has raised the living standards of a number of the less fortunate members of society in the region.

“Today, I’m changing the lives of the less fortunate. I do this during weekends or after work at the Kenya Pipeline Company, where I am employed,” he said.

But the acting gene is still in him, and he normally offers tutelage to those who need guidance in the profession.

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