Jimmi Gathu was the biggest thing on radio in the 90s and 2000s until his services were not needed anymore.
Many would say the man who brought us the “Wacha Mpango wa Kando” advert is a trailblazer in his own right.
Now, years later, Gathu, a father of three is back on the big screens with a drama series Kina.
The show, directed by Supa Modo director Likarion Wainaina and Victor Gatonye (Dream Child) and airing on Maisha Magic Plus and streaming service Showmax, is about the struggle for survival between the rich and the poor.
Gathu plays Fred Tandala, a Deputy Inspector General of Police born in riches but his rebellious side forces him to curve his own path.
Speaking to Showmax, Gathu who has aged like fine wine, says his role might not be prominent but when he (Fred) makes an appearance, he makes his presence felt.
He appears alongside the lead actress, Nana Tandala whose role is played by the multi-talented Sanaipei Tande.
His on-screen chemistry with Sana as she is popularly known especially because of her music, is undeniable.
Gathu admits that he has known Sana for years and his relationship with her is simply authentic.Why, you might wonder? Well, he relates to his wife, Cathy, in the same ways as he does, Nana.
“I met Sanaipei when she was still in a group called Sema…she was one of those people who got your attention.” Gathu says. “I’ve introduced her to my family as well so being goofy around each other or lovey-dovey is not a problem. We can go as far as is needed, and I think that we are just both very lucky that it was the two of us and not strangers.
“There are some scenes my wife watches and she’s like hey, we haven’t done that in a while,” he says as he gushes about his wife who he reveals is his biggest supporter and critic.
Speaking on his role as Fred, Gathu says he had to shadow his friends who are in the force. The experience, he opines, helped bring Fred’s character to life in the most natural way.
“Speaking like Fred Tandala was really tough because I had to speak like a Nairobian but not really sheng…I have a few friends in the police force who allowed me to shadow them and that’s how they actually talk,” he said.
He has previously played a young, radical president in the political drama State House.
Most recently, in 2018, he appeared in Wanuri Kahiu’s award-winning film, Rafiki as Kena’s (Samantha Mugatsia) open-minded father running for office.