Rebecca or “Becky” as she’s fondly known by her friends, made a comeback on Kina this week. Her first stop was New Janta to see Caro, her old friend. Still donning her wedding dress, Becky introduced her wheelchair-bound husband Maxwell to her friends and ordered everyone a drink. She had disappeared from the radar because Nana, her blood sister, poisoned her drink and everyone thought she was dead.
So just who is this bubbly lady behind this character? Maisha Magic Plus recently caught up with her and this is what she shared:
Tell us who you are, your background and where you grew up.
My name is Karimi Njagi. I am in my mid-forties and a mother of the most amazing 21-year-old son. I am also an actress, businesswoman and an Alzheimer's and Dementia champion.
I started acting when I was 10 years old. I took part in a Christmas-themed production titled ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ that was aired on the then Voice of Kenya. Just being in front of the camera gave me such a rush that I knew this is what I wanted to do.
I didn’t act much in primary school because I was involved in other school activities such as being a girl guide, being involved in debate clubs and public speaking. It was not after I joined Kyeni Girls' High School that the acting bug hit again. After a daunting audition, I was fortunate enough to be picked as one of the few first performers to join the drama club. Mr. Nyaga, the dram teacher, took me under his wing and I learned so much from him.
How did you get to be on the Jack & The Beanstalk musical?
When I was a fourth-year student at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, I joined Phoenix Players. They were auditioning for the musical, but I received a regret letter. It was one of my most painful memories.
All was not lost though because I bumped into George Mungai who was the Musical Director who convinced me to join theatre. I joined the chorus of "Jack & The Beanstalk" and as the musical progressed, right in the middle of the run, the late James Falkland called me. I was in a panic! He - broke the good news to me when he revealed that I’d be playing the role of The Fairy Godmother from the following evening.
What have been your most memorable moments?
It was when one morning James Falkland called, gave me the Antigone script and politely informed me that I'd be playing the maid as from that evening. As I sat down to memorise my lines, James insisted I go on stage with the script. I did, but I found it rather uncomfortable to act and hold the script at the same time. So in my next exit, I threw the script backstage and went back on stage without it. You should have seen the look on his face when he realised that I had memorised the script!
How did you land the Kina role?
I almost did not attend the auditions for Kina. But my friend Chr is Kamau who plays C. S Mulumba on the show kept encouraging me to attend until I gave in. I auditioned for the role of Mary Mwakazi but I got the role of Rebecca aka Becky with the long legs, short shorts, Mtoto wa Mama. I must admit that I don't think I'd have done the role of Mary justice as well as Carolyne Midimo has.
Tells us about your character Becky
Becky is a very interesting role to play because I have seen her in many people that I have come across in my life. I’ll admit that there's a bit of me in there as I did go through a wild child phase in my past. But I thank God for second chances. Becky is one person who will never take
responsibility f or her actions though deep down, she really loves Jabali but -has a weird way of expressing it. James Falkland always said to us, “If you are going to be good, be brilliant. If you are going to be bad, be horrible but never play safe”. There is no playing safe with Becky.
You mentioned that you are an Alzheimer's and Dementia champion. How did you get into that?
My dad, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2018. It took me more than a year to admit that my superman, the most intelligent and the most hilarious person that I knew will never be the same again. I mourn my dad even if he still alive because as his brain dies every day, so does a part of him. I work with the Alzheimer's and Dementia Organisation of Kenya (ADOK) to raise awareness of the illness and find ways to raise funds for families who don't have the means to take care of their loved ones. This caregiving journey has taught me to be more patient, to love unconditionally, and to be more thankful for what I have.
Catch Becky and the rest of the Kina crew every Monday to Friday at 8 pm only on Maisha Magic Plus CH 163.