• The name stuck after they did a splendid job in Tausi, which was a much-loved show
Actor Ken Ambani says of all the roles he has taken up, 'Baraza' remains the top as many people know him by that.
Baraza was the character he played in KBC’s cult classic Tausi, which aired its final episode some time in 2000.
Speaking to Word Is, Ambani said he will never forget playing the character, a role that brought him to the limelight.
"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.”
While 'Baraza' may not go away any time soon, it’s slowly being overtaken by 'Jaffar', his latest role in the TV series Kovu, which airs on Maisha Magic Plus and Showmax.
Kovu, from Rashid Abdalla and Lulu Hassan (Maza, Maria), follows the wealthy Haze family, led by the patriarch Jaffar (Ambani), whose bonds and picture-perfect lives are threatened by lies and secrets.
Kovu is a show full of intrigues, and one that takes its time to unravel the mysteries that each character is entangled in, which Ambani says is a different kind of pace from what he is used to.
“Unlike many stories I’ve been involved in, where my character's story unfolds very fast, Jaffar's story hasn't opened up to the world yet, other than the daily family intrigues,” he said.
In a show where most (if not all) characters have an agenda, even those with the best intentions, like Jaffar, are not to be trusted easily.
Unlike his onscreen rival Carlos Santana, played by Patrick Owino, who Ambani praises as a “great actor who’s thoroughly doing justice to his role,” Jaffar is a man of honour.
And yet, like those around him, he has his own secrets that could ruin everything he’s worked for. It’s the perfect role for an actor of Ambani’s calibre.
“This is the most interesting thing about Kovu,” he said.
"Everyone in real life cannot confidently say they have strictly one side of the black or white. There’s that other side of our lives that might cause a stir when revealed. And that’s what Kovu is about. It’s a story that all of us can relate to.”
What attracted him to this role, he says, is the fact that Jaffar is “such a strong character with a mix of emotions, and who puts a lot of effort into bringing sanity into his family” .
Ambani is a family man, and even though he admits that being a father to teenagers in real life has made it easier to embrace his fatherhood as Jaffar, he says acting is about make-believe and owning the person your character is supposed to be.
“There are instances where views may differ on how my character and I approach fatherhood, but this is Jaffar’s story, not Ken’s,” he said.