Saturday, April 13, 2024

Awinja: From poverty in Eastleigh to bagging multimillion deals

Jacky Vike, artistically known as Awinja, is among Kenya’s most influential and successful actresses/comedians.

Awinja, the moniker, emerged after she landed a significant role in Papa Shirandula playing alongside the late Charles Bukeko. Her role detailed playing a primitive house girl with a heavy Luhya accent.

Her character was meant to portray how village girls, dubbed ‘Kienyeji’ behave in the cities. Away from the TV role that makes her look ‘Kienyeji’ and outdated, Jacky Vike is a beautiful and natural woman whose sense of fashion is top-notch.

This has seen her career take a meteoric rise with big brands scrambling for her signature in representing them. In 2022, Awinja was voted star of the year on a poll alongside Azziad, Pritty Vishy and Charlene Ruto.

She has bagged several multi-million deals with big brands such as East Africa Breweries Limited, Exe Unga, Naivas Supermarkets, and Odi bets among others. She even flew out to Qatar and attended the world cup.

The comedian didn’t fail to impress as she was seen hawking mukhombero in the streets of Qatar, dressed in her signature Awinja pink dress and Kamisi overlapping the hem of the dress.

But very few people know of her story from grass to grace, and how she has gained such massive followership in Kenya and internationally. Her story is characterized by loss, pain, mysteries and victory.

Awinja: From poverty in Eastleigh to bagging multimillion deals

Jacky was born in a neighborhood in Eastleigh on September 8th, 1987. In a family of five children, two boys and three girls, Awinja is the third born.

In a previous interview, Jacky revealed that growing up, she struggled with poverty. She disclosed that her father was a drunkard who would always embarrass their family whenever he drank.

However, she protected her dad, adding that he was always a family man who dedicated himself to ensuring that his children never lacked basic needs despite having no stable source of income.

The 35-year-old actress always had a closely-knit relationship with her late younger brother. However, the latter left too soon after he was shot dead by police officers who thought he was a thief.

Jacky says that she has never recovered from the trauma of losing her younger brother, and she still cries whenever she thinks about him.

As if that pain wasn’t enough, Jacky’s elder brother was in prison and thus couldn’t attend the funeral service. He was eventually released from prison but trouble beckoned when his wife died shortly after. He fell into an alcoholism den.

Awinja, bold and strong as she is stated that she supports her brother to date as he has never fully healed from the loss of her sister-in-law. She also supports her younger sisters who are still in school.

Her father also succumbed to alcoholism complications when she was still in primary school. She attributes most of her success to her mother who has raised the family singlehandedly.

Jacky went to Heshima Road Primary School in Eastleigh for her primary studies. Here is when she discovered her talent in acting.

She started performing for drama festivals when she was in class four. She also performed during Sunday school.

She then proceeded to Kegoya High School for secondary education. Here she continued perfecting her skills in music and drama festivals.

In one of these shows, Jacky met legendary storyteller Kennedy Otukho. He noticed her passion and urged her to pursue acting after secondary school.

After high school, she followed Kennedy’s advice and joined Theater-Ebsemble, an artistic group for acting set books.

She schooled at Media School Africa where she pursued TV production. Her mother, however, wanted her daughter to become an air hostess.

“Mum wanted me to be an air hostess and even enrolled me in a college and paid my fees, but my heart was not there so I would go to Kenya National Theater for Rehearsals instead of attending school,” she said.

Her mother loosened up after a while and supported her career choice. Later on, she would join local drama Wash and Set which aired on NTV.

After this gig, she met Charles Bukeko. This is where her life took a drastic turnaround as Awinja. The pair met at a documentary audition. Charles liked her skills and requested her to join Papa Shirandula.

Initially, Awinja was unsure she would do well in her role due to a lack of a heavy Luhya accent. However, with grit and determination, she practiced hard to master everything required for Awinja.

This role blended well with Wilbroda, played by Jackie Nyaminde, and put her on the spotlight of fame. She started appearing on NTV’s The Trend Show after joining Papa Shirandula.

“The Papa Shirandula show really transformed my life. It allowed me to explore more with the character of Awinja and create a fan base,” she said.

This hard earned fame did her well, as even after she left Papa Shirandula at the show’s termination, she continued acting little skits.

Little did she know that the skits would earn her major endorsements. The pretty actress drew numerous fans on Social media with her comedy acts.

Like many Kenyan content creators, Jacky has previously suffered from low self esteem. Her home neigborhood in Eastleigh was the source of her affected esteem.

She claimed that her hood had no hope for a better future because many youths were turning to criminal activities to earn money and lift their self-esteem.

Growing up, Jacky Vike shocked her fans when she said that she was bullied because of her jawline. She claimed that see avoided close up photos due to fear of being called ugly due to the nature of her jawline.

Jacky has managed to keep her private life a mystery, as she never parades it on social media for the public to see. It is known that Jacky Vike is married and she has a son.

Awinja: From poverty in Eastleigh to bagging multimillion deals

According to several reports, the influencer is married to Sync Media’s Executive Director Alfred Ngachi. Jacky claims to enjoy motherhood as it allows her to learn new experiences.

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