By Prudence Minayo
William Juma, popularly known as Juma Anderson, came into the limelight when he acted in the drama series Papa Shirandula, produced by Charles Bukeko. Die hard fans of the program loved and hated him in almost equal measure due to the fact that at times when watching a program fans get carried away by the role actors play and at times confuse reality with fiction. He was loved for perfectly executing his role while others hated him due to the fact that he was a harsh boss.
Once he recounted how two men nearly attacked him with a panga as they thought him a villain. He had just fired Papa Shirandula as watchman in the show. While taking a stroll in Mumias, some men identified him as the man who acted in the program. They called him out for being evil and having a black heart, likening it to Satan, since he had fired Papa yet he was old. One of them even threatened him with a panga and he had to quickly walk away.
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The artist credits his success on the screens to the late Charles Bukeko who gave him the opportunity to nurture his talent.
“Bukeko did a lot for me because Juma Anderson as a character is a very powerful role and as an artist I had to adjust to play the role,” he said during the first memorial of the late Charles Bukeko.
Background and Education
The talented star was born in Tanzania in 1977 where he spent his early years. He also spent some time in Uganda before finally moving to Kenya where he has stayed in Thika, Busia among other towns. The actor attended Kamukunji High school. He holds a degree in Literature from the University of Nairobi.
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The talented actor used to do stage plays at the Kenya National Theater before featuring in the Papa Shirandula show. One memorable play he acted in was She Ate the Female Cassava. The play, performed at Alliance Française, was memorable as the actor played Papa Shirandula’s servant, a role that would change when he played boss and Shirandula his watchman.
One of his first roles came in 1988 when he was casted in the play The Marriage by Nicolai Gogol. He was also casted in a program aired on KBC called Radio Theatre where he made Ksh300 per episode.
In 2006, he was called and told to bring a suit and that was how he was casted for the Juma Anderson role in Papa Shirandula. In the drama, Juma was a flamboyant boss who could at times be a tyrant to his workers, especially Papa Shirandula. In the role, he drove lavish cars, wore expensive suits and spoke impeccable English.
After leaving the show, he went back to doing stage plays. He also recounted to TUKO how hard it has been for him to get roles since the Papa Shirandula show ended. He blamed the perception of producers thinking he is the rich guy who was portrayed by the program. However, he says in real life he is just a simple man and does not have that much wealth.
William Juma has also been featured in a Russian movie where he played the role of a thug. When the director realized he plays well as a boss, he was made boss of the thugs.
Apart from acting he directs plays and documentaries and writes scripts for movies and plays. He also does commercials and has worked as a board member in a stakeholders committee involved with youth funds meant for the entertainment and film industry.
The thespian also said in Kenya most people expect celebrity status to come with money, something that pushes most of them to live a lie.
He remembered once when he boarded a matatu to Kileleshwa and some passengers began gossiping about him while he was right there. They could not believe he was the Juma Anderson of Papa Shirandula as he was in a matatu with them.
The actor is married with a family he has kept out of the limelight.