Machachari's Mama Baha Opens Up on Struggling After Citizen TV Exit

  • Actor Wanjiku Mburu who played the role of Mama Baha in the Citizen TV series Machachari
    Actor Wanjiku Mburu who played the role of Mama Baha in the Citizen TV series Machachari
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  • Citizen TV's Machachari Show is arguably a cult classic series that aired on Kenyan televisions as many grew up watching the weekly shenanigans of the main cast Baha, Govi, Stella, Millie, Almasi and Joy.

    In September 2019, the media station cancelled further production of the show, an end that ended up paving the way forward for many of the actors.

    On the first anniversary, since the show stopped filming, Kenyans.co.ke caught up with Wanjiku Mburu who portrayed the character of Mama Baha for 11 years where she opened up on life after the iconic show.

    Wanjiku Mburu (centre) with other cast members of Machachari
    Wanjiku Mburu (centre) with other cast members of Machachari
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    "Even now I go to places and fans of the show still call me Mama Baha," she cheerfully reminisces.

    Mburu who had been hospitalised on September 4 revealed that she was much better and was already working on other projects including a feature film and a short film. On the winding down of the show, the actor disclosed that it did take a toll on her.

    "Acting is not as easy as many people think it is. For 11 years I used to play the character of Mama Baha and when the show ended it took some time for me to adjust back to being me," she explained.

    The thespian explained that when acting, one becomes someone else and that affected her quality of life 

    "I went through a period of depression, I even had to work with a psychiatrist to help me navigate life after the show," she stated.

    In a bid to rediscover herself, Mburu embarked on rest and travelling while exploring new hobbies as well.

    "It is a heavy task before you can actually get into the character, you have to do a lot of research as well as mental adjustment to get into the mind of the character," she added.

    From Right Kamau Mbaya, Wanjiku Mburu, Susan Kamau and friends on September 7, 2020.
    From Right: Kamau Mbaya, Wanjiku Mburu, Susan Kamau and friends on September 7, 2020.
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    A 2016 research by the University of Adelaide, Australia found that actors were highly vulnerable to depression and symptoms of anxiety.

    "Their mental wellbeing is threatened in a range of ways, such as: a lack of autonomy in their profession, lack of control over their employment and general working environment, complex interpersonal relationships, a high level of self-criticism, a high level of criticism by family and friends for their choice of profession, and a heavy drinking culture.

    "Actors also report experiencing vicarious trauma through their acting experiences - they are so emotionally, intellectually and physically engaged in their roles that it can be difficult to switch off. Some report having nightmares and intrusive thoughts related to their roles," the lead researcher Alison Robb discovered in her thesis.

    A number of Hollywood actors have gone public about the toll of taking on certain movie roles. American actress Anne Hathaway explained that her 2012 role as Fantine in Les Miserables impacted her health, physically, emotionally and mentally.

    Even though she won an oscar for her performance, she at the time revealed that she had an identity crisis after the heart-wrenching role.

    American actress Anne Hathaway on the red carpet.
    American actress Anne Hathaway on the red carpet.
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