Veteran comedian Walter Mong'are popularly known as 'Mr President' has been given the job of Drama Ambassador for the 2018 edition of the Kenya National Drama and Film festival.
Mong'are's latest assignment was recently announced by the Kenya Films Classification Board (KFCB) CEO Dr Ezekiel Mutua and Kenya National Drama and Film Festival Chairman Prof CJ Odhiambo
KFCB is the title sponsor of the annual drama and film festival, which features the best artistic talent from learning institutions all over Kenya.
The ceremony was attended by Kenya National drama and Film festival chairman Prof CJ Odhiambo at Uchumi house.
Mong'are, whose stage name is Nyambane, is a product of the festival itself. He started featuring in the event when he was a student at Lenana School, one of the top performing institutions in the event.
After leaving Lenana, Mong'are joined Kenyatta University where his acting career blossomed. At KU, he teamed up with John Kiarie (KJ)and Tony Njuguna to form Reddykyulas, one of the top comedy items then.
In Reddykyulas, Mong'are made a name for himself with rib-tickling parodies of retired President Daniel arap Moi, aping his voice and political talk to hilarious effect.
With KJ acting as Moi's sidekick and then KANU secretary general Joseph Kamotho and Njuguna acting as Moi's bodyguard, Reddykyulas, which was aired on Nation TV (the present day NTV) became a household name and kept many Kenyans entertained during weekends.
Reddykyulas broke up, to the consternation of many fans when the members went into individual careers. Monga're continued his comedy career in Kiss FM, where he featured in the morning alongside the fiery Caroline Mutoko. They formed a formidable team and they pulled no punches, attracting lots of likes (from fans) and dislikes from top personalities.
KJ had a long stint as a cartoonist with Sunday Nation before joining politics. He is currently the Member of Parliament for Dagoretti North. Njuguna went into advertising and is rarely heard of these days.
Mong'are left Kiss FM and joined Nairobi County government's communications department. In the meantime, he formed a music band which was composed of girls called Nyambanelets, but that stint was short-lived.
Citing Nyambane's success as an artiste who was nurtured by the Kenya Schools and Colleges Drama Festival, Dr Mutua said that he was an apt role model for young and upcoming actors.
He said the role of drama ambassador would involve Monga're interacting with various actors in the drama sector and inspiring the youth to excel in drama.
"Mong'are is a young person who has shown that one can excel in art and create a livelihood from it. That is why we picked him for this role," Mutua said during the unveiling ceremony.
In his role, Mong'are will interact with performers, directors, dance choreographers, adjudicators and others in the drama industry.
Mutua says that Mong'are's input in improving the standards of the festival will be welcome. He said that Mong'are had proved himself as a comedian and an actor and that many young artistes look up to him.
On his part, Mong'are thanked Mutua and KFCB for appointing him to the role, saying that he will do his best to motivate those in the acting sphere in learning institutions.
"The best start to anything, including drama, is to start at a young age. Future acting and dance stars are in schools, and that is where we should start to nurture them," Mong'are said.
Since KFCB became the title sponsor of the festival this year even as Mutua strives to give the festival more meaning to the performers and their audiences.
The films, plays, dances and comedy performed at the festival will now be filmed and availed to the general public through Cinema Mashinani.
As a result, the best trainers and best students will be exposed in the international film festivals and creative forums unlike before, when items performed would die with the end on the national festival.