Hot 96 FM presenter and stand-up comedian Francis Kibe, alias Rapcha the Sayantist, on Sunday, July 12, told a little known story of how the late Benson Wanjau, better known as Mzee Ojwang' helped mould his career.
He was marking the fifth anniversary since the death of one of Kenya's pioneer actors best known for his work on Vitimbi, the sitcom which aired on state-owned Kenya Broadcasting Channel (KBC).
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, Rapcha revealed that it was in 2001 when Ojwang' offered him a chance that would play a big role in defining his future as an actor and comedian.
At the time, Rapcha was a young actor who had just broken through into the cast of Vioja Mahakamani, but was only doing fillers as he was not part of the main cast.File image of Hot 96 presenter Rapcha the Sayantist
He explained that, at the time, the show revolved around the central characters while others like himself featured in filler scenes with few or no lines in the courtroom drama.
Rapcha was part of a group of KBC actors led by Wanjau that went to perform at an Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) show in Nairobi.
He was given the task of collecting entrance fees as the group entertained show-goers with various acts.
When the place was full, Rapcha left his station at the entrance to inform Mzee Ojwang' that it was time to go on stage as the crowd was eagerly anticipating him.
Wanjau, however, wasn't keen on taking to the stage just yet and instead offered Rapcha the chance to entertain the crowd before he wrapped up the show.
"He told me to go out there and shine in front of the crowd, and if it got difficult, he would come on stage and help me out. I went out there and 20 minutes later I returned backstage, and he took over on stage.
"It was very important for me because it was what actually showed me that I could do it on my own, that I could entertain without being part of a group. That is when I started getting more into stand-up comedy as well," he noted.
Remembering Wanjau fondly, Rapcha noted that pioneer comedians were not concerned with controlling the industry compared to what he opined was happening in recent times.
He argued that, currently, upcoming comedians felt the need to be part of big comedy brands to have a chance of making it in their careers.
"All I am saying is, in that generation, no one tried to own the industry and this allowed for new talents to constantly emerge. At the moment, you have to ask yourself where the comedians who are not part of various cliques are supposed to go," Rapcha stated.File image of the late Benson Wanjau alias Mzee Ojwang'
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