Nini Wacera is a veteran Kenyan actress, casting director and actors coach. Since kicking off her career in 2001, she has featured in several films and television series and won multiple awards in the process.
Wacera thrust into the national limelight in 2003 when she was featured in the local soap opera, Wingu La Moto as the main protagonist.
The veteran media personality was also famed for her stint in radio where she became a darling to many listeners around the country. In this article, WoK takes a look at the life and career of the celebrated actress.
Background & Education
Nini was born on January 16, 1978, and is 45 years old as of 2023. According to her LinkedIn profile, Wacera is an alumni of the United States International University (USIU).
Nini begun her career at the Phoenix Players under the tutelage of James Falkland. She is notable for her role in 2003-2006 Soap Opera ‘Wingu La Moto”. Where she played the main protagonist ‘Susan’. Her most recent performance is in the film Rafiki by Wanuri Kahiu where she played ‘Mercy’ and in Sense8 where she played ‘Justice’ a political activist.
Besides her acting, Nini is an accomplished Radio Show Host, having held the highly rated Late Night Capital show on 98.4 Capital Fm for 7 years.
She played leading lady ‘Dinka” in ‘The Game Plan’, a BBC Radio Drama. She hosted Television talk shows: ‘Dad’s Can Cook’ and ‘Destination Kenya’ as well as co- hosted ‘The Spread Podcast’ with Kaz.
Nini is widely known as a Casting Director and Actor’s Coach. She is the Casting Director responsible for Rafiki, Sense8 Nairobi Casting, Changes 2, Something Necessary and Lusala.
After a long hiatus, the veteran actress made a comeback playing the antagonist on Country Queen – a series that explores the fast-paced and perilous world of the city and slower rural life highlighted by the Tsilanga community. She plays Vivienne on the series.
According to the actress, she now establishes indigenous forests and woodlots and has planted 5,000 trees since 2015. She runs Miti Yetu, a land restoration project management company that specializes in indigenous trees and food forests.
In 2003, Nini won the Golden Dhow Award for her role in the film Project Daddy. She also won at the 50th International Oberhausen Short Film Festival for the film Epilogue.
In 2004, she won at the 7th Africa Cine week for the film Dangerous Affair and in 2006, she was feted Fanta Chaguo la Teeniez Award for her lead role in soap opera Wingu La Moto.
Wacera bagged the Best Supporting Actress Africa 2022 at the Zikomo Awards held in Zambia for her role in Country Queen.
Nothing to show
Nini has nothing to show for the twenty plus years she’s been an actor. Speaking to the Sunday Nation, the actress said she has only regrets.
“Acting is all I have done my whole life but I have nothing to show for it other than regrets,” she told the daily.
She went on to add,
“What is it that is there to smile about now? Tell me. When I started in the 2000s the pay was way better than it is today. That’s a fact,” she says.
The actress is a mother of one, a daughter aged 21 named Manuela. During an interview with Parents Magazine, Wacera revealed that she gave birth to her daughter at the age of 23.
She further stated that as a mother, she made a promise to herself to ensure that her daughter always trusts her with anything and can freely engage her on any matter without fear.
“I did not want her to be afraid of me. I wanted her to have fun with me and have good memories of her life with me. It’s just a relief she did not end up like me,” she said.
“She is not confused, she is not lost, she doesn’t feel unseen and she is not traumatised by things that have happened that she has had no guidance. I feel like my success as a parent comes when I see her happy, and she’s made good decisions for herself. It’s a miracle seeing this person I carried in my belly now grown up, deciding, doing and functioning. This is what success is for me as a parent.”
She also acknowledged raising her daughter was difficult at first,
“When she was young, it was easier because the things I was outspoken about were not on her radar. However, it got to a point where friends in school were asking if her mother is a lesbian, and I realised it was better that she got the information from me and not from other people.”
Wacera further explained that as a celebrity, she thought it would be unhealthy to expose her child to the limelight since she’s the one that’s a celebrity not her daughter.
“If she’s just famous because her mother is famous, then what’s her identity? Who is she as a human being? So I wanted it to be her choice.”
Speaking to the latest issue of Parents Magazine, the actress confessed to having procured an abortion while she was still young. She noted that though she wanted to keep the baby at the time, she did not have the support.
“I feel like it’s one experience in my life that ripped me to the core of my soul because it was traumatic. That abortion took like the whole day. After all, you’re the loose girl who had sex with your boyfriend and got pregnant,” she told the publication.
Nini revealed that the situation made her suicidal and she thought of taking her life but her mother intervened. Though she was going through a tough time and needed a lot of guidance and counselling, the actress says she did not get any.
She states that the issue of sex education which is considered a taboo among a majority of African cultures should be revisited and demistyfied.
“Sex positivity teaches people how to appreciate sex with a positive mind. It’s also teaching consent. When I was sexually molested as a child, I couldn’t tell my mum about it because sex was not spoken about.”