Top Kenyan Journalists Who Also Starred in TV Shows

  • From Top Left: A compiled image of Janet Mbugua, Ferdinand Omondi, Jimmi Gathu, and Makena Njeri.
    From Top Left: A compiled image of Janet Mbugua, Ferdinand Omondi, Jimmi Gathu, and Makena Njeri.
    Kenyans.co.ke
  • Over the years, Kenyans have witnessed Journalists showcasing their skills both in the newsroom and the film industry.

    While some transition from acting to the newsroom, others also leave behind the intense newsroom pressure to explore career opportunities in theatre.

    Here are some of the TV personalities who have made appearances in local productions playing either lead or supporting roles.

    Janet Mbugua 

    Celebrated Media Personality Janet Mbugua Moderating a Session
    Celebrated Media Personality Janet Mbugua Moderating a Session in August 2021.
    Janet Mbugua/Twitter

    Janet Mbugua has starred in two Kenyan shows. The ex-Citizen TV journalist started her career in Journalism as a radio host at Capital Fm. She then transitioned to TV, working as a news anchor on Kenya Television Network (KTN) before switching to Royal Media Services' Citizen TV.

    In 2017, the news anchor took a break from the newsroom to pursue other interests, including, running her Inua Dada Foundation. 

    Mbugua first made a name for herself as an actress when she featured in the TV show, Rush, which premiered on Kenyan screens in 2014. In the show, she was also the lead actress with the stage name of Pendo. Pendo owned a news outlet Rush Magazine, and aspired to tackle issues facing society through her media house.

    In the show, she featured alongside Tusker Project Fame finalist Wendy Kimani.

    In 2021, after several years off-screen, Mbuga made an appearance in yet another Kenyan TV series Monica,  where she acted as deputy governor. 

    Ferdinand Omondi

    Compiled image of BBC Journalist and Tahidi High Actor Ferdinand Omondi.
    Compiled image of BBC Journalist and Tahidi High Actor Ferdinand Omondi.
    File

    Ferdinand Omonid made his TV appearance as an actor in the then Citizen TV's High school drama, Tahidi High. In the show, Omondi acted as Mule, a mischievous and cunning student who was a friend of the most notorious student OJ.

    Later, Omondi transitioned to become a sports reporter at Citizen TV in 2006. However, he was laid off by the company in 2009. The thespian cum journalist would then land a role at KTN and NTV where he was a reporter for the Coast region.

    In 2014, he joined the giant British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) where he has risen through the ranks to become Kenya's correspondent of the London-based media house.

    Makena Njeri

    An image of actress and ex-BBC journalist Makena Njeri posted on Instagram on November 13, 2021.
    An image of actress and ex-BBC journalist Makena Njeri posted on Instagram on November 13, 2021.
    Instagram
    Makena Njeri

    Makena Njeri made her name for herself when she was cast on Citizen TV’s show, Tahidi High. In the TV show, she played Makena, a student who portrayed the day-to-day challenges of a high school student.

    Njeri later joined Nation Media Group as a producer before landing a role as a journalist at BBC. Makena worked at BBC for 3 years before quitting on March 9 to start her own advocacy organisation, the Bold Network Africa.

    The talented journalist was recognised for her role at the BBC by being nominated for the prestigious Emmy awards.

    Jimmi Gathu

    Jimmi Gathu in an Instagram post on August 20, 2018
    Jimmi Gathu in an Instagram post on August 20, 2018
    Instagram

    The veteran media personality is not new to the public eye. He has made a name for himself in both Radio and TV industry for the past 25 years.

    Gathu formally joined TV in 1990, where he hosted several Kids’ shows at KTN. This role would later see him become a show host at Capital FM. In 2004, he joined Citizen TV, where he co-hosted Citizen TV’s first breakfast show with Kobi Kihara. 

    During his time at Royal Media Services (RMS), the parent company of Citizen TV, Gathu was the head of Hot 96 until 2013. He later joined K24 and NTV. At NTV, he was the host of the State Of The Nation Breakfast Show in 2016.

    Among the shows that the veteran journalist has featured include, Nairobi Half-Life (2012), State House(2014), and Rafiki (2018).

    Gathu currently stars in Kenyan TV series, Kina, where he casts as Fred, a Deputy Inspector General of police whose family is the center of controversy. In the show, he casts a long former Capital FM radio personality and musician Sanaipei Tande.