By Elijah Odhiambo
Veteran Kenyan actor Kenneth Ambani, popularly known as Baraza from the oldies series, Tausi, has been appointed as the County Executive Committee(CEC) member at the Department of Public Service Administration, Youth, Gender, Social Services, and Sports in Mombasa county.
He was sworn into office on March 15, 2023, an event presided over by Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Sherrif Nassir.
Mr. Ambani shared that Governor Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir had selected him as one of his CECs following approval by the Mombasa County Assembly.
On his part, the governor expressed confidence that the newly constituted Cabinet would help him deliver on his campaign promises.
He noted that his administration has come to power during a very tough economic time for residents of Mombasa.
“I am proud to announce that Mombasa County now has a fully functional Cabinet comprising able County Executive Committee Members who I believe will bring the change that Mombasa needs. The real work of transformation has just begun. Let us put our political differences aside and bring change. Mombasa inapendeza huko mbele,” Shariff Nassir stated.
But who is Ken Ambani?
Kenneth Ambani is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mafiga Africa PR & Marketing, TVCs, Documentaries, Feature and Short films.
He is a Kenyan award winning actor as well as a former manager at Posta Kenya
Ambani was especially noteworthy for his acting skills as Baraza in KBC’S production film, Tausi, a character that thrust him into the international limelight.
According to Ambani, he will never forget playing the character, describing it as his best as it changed his life.
“I have been in so many others, even won awards for some of them, but still, in the eyes of the many who continue to see me, they only know me for Baraza,” he said.
No role can ever measure up, he says, but it doesn’t bother him.
“We did a splendid job on Tausi, which was a much-loved show. And for this reason, the name stuck.”
The Tausi show stopped airing on TV screens in 2000, after running for five years. It became the most-watched show on national television. If you watched this show, then the name Ken Ambani a.k.a Baraza sounds very familiar to you. People recognize him as Barasa from Tausi. He is an award winning Kenyan actor whose acting career spans more than two decades.
Apart from Tausi, he also featured in other renowned productions including Wingu La Moto, Tushauriane, Shuga, Mali, Makutano Junction, Cobra Squad, Subira and Kovu.
He has also starred in international productions in South Africa, being one of the first Kenyans to be cast in the famous South African soap opera, Jacob’s Cross, with many terming him as the only actor in the country who has been in more than a dozen shows and movies.
Family and education
Ken Ambani was born in Busia county where his family resided. His father’s name is Ambani Mudinyu, while that of his mother is Mary Wanjiru. Ken’s father passed on when he was still a toddler.
He was raised in Bakarani area in the Coastal city of Mombasa by his mother and stepdad, Mohamed Hassan. Ambani grew up in a Muslim environment, and he regularly attended the mosque on weekdays, but he never abandoned the Christian faith. He attended the Sunday services at All Saints Cathedral.
After completing secondary education at the Coast, his parents insisted that he enroll in accounting classes, and he pursued a diploma in sales and marketing and CPA at Mombasa Polytechnic.
He later joined Moi University in the School of Communication and PR.
Acting career and awards
He started acting when he was very young. At the age of three, he won a stage actor’s award. He has been on stage since then.
When he was in Form Three, Ken was cast to play a role in the South African play My People and Chains at Chandaria Hall in Mombasa. He was lucky to win the Best Actor’s Award at the national level.
He made his debut as a professional actor when he featured in Tushauriane, a Swahili drama series. Afterward, he was cast to play a role in the first-ever English drama series called Fate Makers. He only shot 13 episodes as he was forced to relocate to Nairobi after he was given the opportunity to work for Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation.
He won the best Actor award at the Kenya Film Festival at Kalasha Awards in 2009.
This is not the first award that he has won. In 2010 he was feted as the Best Actor in the Tarifa Awards held in Spain, for his role in from a Whisper.
Among other awards, Ambani was feted at the African Prestigious Awards (APA) in Ghana with an Honorary Award for the Best Male Actor in 2018.
Ken Ambani has been married twice in his lifetime, but he is single at the moment. He got married the first time, but the mother of his first daughter passed on.
He entered into a second relationship, and things did not work out between them. He was blessed with two beautiful angels in the relationship. He is a father to Anita, Abby, Chelsea, and Jordan.