The Kenya film industry is mourning the demise of one of its best, Olwenya Maina.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Maina, who was best known for his roles in Nairobi Half Life, Poacher and Taliya, collapsed and died on Monday while being rushed to hospital.
Although most people remember him from Nairobi Half Life as Oti, Maina had an impressive experience in film, television and radio.
Maina did one episode on the KBC TV show Plot 10, before joining Sisimka Productions, where he acted in Wash and Set. On the show Guy Center, he played Alex Maranga, a producer.
In October 2009, he joined Heartstrings Kenya as part of the creative team for the Churchill Show.
He did two episodes in the show Changes and played Uncle Joe in Shuga 2 and the villainous Kaka in Mali.
Born and raised in Kangemi, Nairobi, he attended Kangemi Primary School and Murang’a High School before returning to a high school in Nairobi for family reasons.
He enjoyed working with children and used to teach theatre in churches and schools, among them PCEA Bahati, St Francis Girls Mangu, and Buru Buru Girls.
He was also a voice over actor at Radio Jambo and was the voice behind a number of their promos.
In an earlier interview with Nation, Maina said that art, and specifically, acting in Kenya pays.
“The problem is that people in Kenya equate acting success with money, which should not be the case. Artists should earn enough to be comfortable, but satisfaction in your work is what counts the most.”
On social media, several high-profile entertainers sent condolence messages to his family, lauding him as a special talent and a game-changer in the Kenyan entertainment industry.