So, who was Jackie Vike before Awinja?
Vike belongs to the last generation of actors who had to learn on the job – and had to learn the hard way. (It is a common trend nowadays for an inexperienced and untrained actor to get a TV job from producers who wish to pay cheaply and enjoy his/her fame bubble by showing sloppy talent.) She first joined Theatrix Ensemble Travelling Theatre, (owned by seasoned thespian and musician, Aliwah) .This was the same group that Felix Jalang’o had pioneered a few years back but at the point of her entry , his star had already shone bright .Interestingly though, she became known through the same TV show as Jalang’o and share a record with the prolific comedian as the only two comic characters who have been able to host two seasons of Sakata Dance Show in a row. Vike continued to ‘hustle’ in theatre moving on to public plays and then to more distinct forms by then provided by The Theatre Company. She attended a number of workshops and finally starred in two successful stage shows that still make me smile at the memories. I remember that in those days she was also much disciplined in attending her dance and vocal classes. “I still dance. It helps in keeping fit. Actors sometimes forget that they are an instrument and therefore have to stay healthy…watch what you eat as well!” I let her stress the point even though I’m aware that she is actually a professional dancer and yoga instructor.
I find Vike quite intriguing as she is currently one of the most famous entertainers in the country. However unlike others she can still go about her business without floods of fans interrupting. There is only the constant stare of people trying to recall where they “met” her.This is of course due to her elegant, chilled out fashion which is totally opposite from Awinja’s mshamba (up-country) dressing. Children however stare smiling and laughing when they see her. “Children recognize people more easily than adults. I adore them!”
“I do not regret playing Awinja. To be honest with you, this role has transformed my life. Being in the Papa
Shirandula show has opened so many doors for me. Through this I have MC’d numerous events and traveled to many places.It is however shocking sometimes how my supporters react when they see me in character.” I stop her and declare they are fans and calling them fans and reckoning she is a celebrity doesn’t bite. She won’t really see it that way so I let her continue. “We go for road shows and some of those guys forget you are also human beings and treat you like demi-gods. Sometimes, they block traffic and we have to get help from local security. My most touching encounter was in Western Province where a young woman came into the caravan and gave me a goat as a present. I knew how precious a goat was in this area and I insisted I could not take it. The locals were starting to feel offended and revealed that according to their traditions one could not reject a gift. The promotion team had to find ways of letting the woman win a few gifts to at least complement the healthy goat that she had given me!”