Salaries of Kenyan TV Actors and Actresses

Kenyan Actors and Actresses
A collage photo of Kenyan Actors and Actresses.
Twitter/Standard Digital

Kenyan talents, especially those who are acting on television, movies and commercials are paid differently based on the medium, experience and budget.

Generally, for screen work, actors and actresses are paid a day rate or a weekly rate depending on the need.

The founder and director of Sanaa TheatreAwards, Gorge Orido, who is an expert in Kenya Film Industry explained that rates vary if actors are needed for the entirety of the film shoot or the entirety of a television season.

While speaking to, Orido revealed that the least paid Actor or Actress gets nothing, while the highest paid can carry home an amount of up to Ksh1 million per day.

Maria series cast; Dennis Musyoka (Mr William Hausa) and Sheila Ndanu (Madam Vicky)
Maria series cast; Dennis Musyoka (Mr William Hausa) and Sheila Ndanu (Madam Vicky)

"Television actors can also be paid per episode. Stage actors, however, are usually paid a weekly rate," Orido noted.

Those who choose to volunteer their acting services do so in the hopes of making a name for themselves.

Notably, the top-paid are high valued individuals who are seasoned on television or movies.

It is reported that local TV series pay active talents on location between Ksh1,000 to Ksh10,000 per day.

The amount of money that talents are paid per movie depends on how many days they are needed on set and how much their agents can negotiate.

Just like in other countries, Kenyan film shoots can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months.

A source within Citizen TV's former drama series, Maria, explain that actors and actresses of the then most watched programme were paid less than Ksh30,000 per episode that aired between 2019 and 2020. 

"NTV and KTN actors are the lowest paid, between Ksh 5,000 and Ksh 10,000 per episode. Citizen TV actors are better paid, between Ksh10,000 and Ksh25,000 per episode depending on the roles they play.

"Other platforms like MNet pay in premiums, that is at least Ksh25,000 and above per episode.

"So if six episodes are aired in a month, you earn around Ksh150,000 per month. If they are aired four times, you earn Ksh100,000 per month," the producer stated.

However, Kenyan film industry is yet to be regulated in terms of salaries and other remunerations.

In the United States, screen actors union SAG-AFTRA has minimum wage requirements, based on the budget of the film, that projects must pay union actors.

Film expert Orido explained that whenever major film and television studios in Hollywood visit Kenya for productions, the SAG-AFTRA contracts do apply, hence, giving Kenyan talents a lot of money.

Hollywood film producers in Kenya have been paying local talents as much as $2,000 (around Ksh200,000) per day of shoot.

American film producers in Kenya pay a lot of money because they are obliged under the SAG-AFTRA theatrical contract to adhere to the minimum day rate which is currently $1,056 (around Ksh116,000).

At the same time, just like screen actors, theatre actors have their own rates that they must adhere to.

Kenya does not have strong threatre unions that would advocate for better payments, but in other countries, thespian's salaries are dictated by their respective umbrella organisations.

In the US Actors’ Equity Association dictates the minimum salary its members must be paid.

Hollywood star Connie Nielsen (left) and an aerial view of Nairobi
Hollywood star Connie Nielsen (left) and an aerial view of Nairobi.