Oyolo: Making local movies is my passion

By NANJINIA WAMUSWA

Thomas Oyolo joined entertainment industry with mission to reach out to audience in rural areas who could not understand Kiswahili, English.

Thomas Oyolo
Oyolo, popularly known as Profesa Eshuya, believes some of these productions were educational but the message could not reach those who could not understand either of the languages. He recalls interpreting cinemas that used that used to be screened in public venues by the Government.

“I learned from interpreting experience that many people were missing out and something needed to be done to change the situation,” he says.

Oyolo recalls that while in Class Five in Shibinga Primary, Kakamega, he used to scribble imaginary movies and even act them before his classmates. This enabled him participate in many school activities including drama, traditional dances and poetry.

After completing his secondary school education in 1998, he enrolled for Taekwondo classes but later left to concentrate on acting and music. It is not a coincidence, however, that Oyolo ended up as actor-cum-filmmaker. His Ugandan mother, Margaret Nambuye, was an accomplished thespian and so was his father, Wycliffe Oyolo, who was also musician.

Oyolo says it has taken sheer determination and hard work to get where he is today. In 2002, he tried luck in a music competition dubbed “Nairobi Rap Battle” sponsored by Capital FM. He became fourth.

Breakthrough

He also took part in the Safaricom-sponsored “Star Search” competition, but again failed to impress. “It is after I failed to impress in two music competitions that I realised I was only good in comedy and acting.

His breakthrough came in 2004 when he was auditioned and landed acting role in Vitimbi and Kivunja Mbavu then aired by Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).

Still determined to start vernacular productions, he used to opportunity hone his skills on various aspects of filmmaking such as editing, shooting, scripting and playing music instruments.

The 28-year-old, who has worked in radio as presenter and comedian, has also featured in several other television programmes such as Krazy Kenyans, Shika Pata Potea, and now Mashitaka. He is also a musician and an emcee.

It is while at KBC that he managed to put aside funds and set up his Kanyanga Waya Production Studios. “It all begun like a joke. Some of my friends did not believe me when I started these productions.  But l was determined,” he says with a chuckle.

He has produced several vernacular movies including Profesa 3310, Neshuya (a series), Anastasia and Nyeff-Nyeff. Some of the themes addressed in the movies include corruption, HIV, youth empowerment, politics and love among others.

Oyolo is also the director of Vernicular Film Production (VFP), a company he runs alongside Pengle and Kihenjo. VFP launched several vernacular productions on Saturday June 9 at Petmark Hotel on Kenwood House, along Kimathi Street.

Mheshimiwa Eshuya, a political satirical piece that advises politicians to engage peaceful campaigns, was among vernacular movies launched.  Oyolo says the relaunch of the productions, which have been in market since 2004, was to alert their fans about their existence. He says vernacular productions should not be frowned upon since they are a source of employment.
 

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Thomas Oyolo Profesa Eshuya