Jiffy Pictures is one of the largest production houses in Kenya.
It is owned and run by Citizen TV’s power couple Lulu Hassan and Rashid Abdalla.
The award-winning company has been responsible for the creation and production of some of the most popular Swahili telenovelas in Kenya and East Africa.
Some of the movies and soaps they have produced include Huba, Aziza, Maza, Kovu, Zari, Becky, Moyo, Maria, and Sultana, among others.
These shows have been aired on Citizen TV, Maisha Magic East, Showmax, and Maisha Magic Bongo in Tanzania.
But how did Lulu and Abdalla create and build such a successful film empire?
This is their journey as told by WoK:
The lovebirds met in 2006 during Rashid Abdalla’s first day at coast-based Radio Salaam, which was the genesis of his successful media career.
On her part, Lulu had joined the station as a 20-year-old part-time English newscaster.
They immediately fell in love, leading to their engagement and eventual marriage.
Lulu Hassan would eventually land her first TV role as a Swahili newscaster on KTN while Rashid went on to join NMG’s now-defunct QTV as a news anchor.
He later moved to NTV when QTV was shut down.
It was during this time that they came up with the concept of Jiffy Pictures, a production company that would specialize in Swahili telenovelas for local audiences.
The couple would write scripts, scout for talents, and produce the shows executively.
They thought it was a good idea, so they registered the company and set up its social media pages in 2016 and 2017 and they landed their first show Maza in partnership with a company called Multichoice.
Soon after, they reunited as news anchors on Royal Media’s Citizen TV in 2018 when Rashid left NTV.
After a while, they premiered the telenovela Maria, which garnered a cult-like following and became the most popular Swahili series to air on Citizen.
This success allowed the company to expand its portfolio with even better shows as media stations clamored for their attention.
Aside from Maria, other popular shows by Jiffy include Sultana and Becky, which is currently airing on Citizen TV.
These telenovelas have garnered numerous national and international awards and have helped shine a light on hitherto undiscovered and talented actors and actresses while also helping to develop Kenya’s entertainment industry.
Jiffy Pictures has created jobs for actors, actresses, chefs, transporters, real estate owners, make-up artists, video editors, sound producers, camera crew, and set designers among others in the film ecosystem.
They recently tapped renowned actresses Sarah Hassan and Brenda Wairimu in a brand new telenovela Zari, which will air on Maisha Magic Plus.
When it comes to the script, some of the soaps they produce are inspired by personal experiences.
During the grand launch of Zari earlier this year, Abdalla, who is the CEO of Jiffy Pictures, said the story of Zari is about him.
“I aspired to become a news anchor, and the person who inspired me was the individual who used to guide passengers embarking and disembarking at the Kenya Ferry.
Whenever I crossed the Kenya Ferry, I marveled at why people didn’t pay more attention to his directions.
I said to myself that when I have a platform to tell others’ stories, I will take it.
I joined radio, hosted a show where I invited people to share their stories, and now, Sarah and Brenda in ‘Zari’ are bringing our stories to life on the screen.” he said.
He however pointed out that their greatest challenge while starting out was capital, as film production is expensive.