“I have haters and I need them. Whatever people said, that is politics. Churchill and I are not vying for any political seat. So, there is no need to create enmity between us. I would really appreciate if people would respect that Churchill and I are not fighting.”
Those are the words of comedienne Teacher Wanjiku when eDaily sought to find out why she opted to leave Churchill Show – a platform which made her famous across the country – three years ago.
“I do not regret leaving Churchill Show. It is something we had seen, we knew it was coming. I left with a clean heart and goodwill from them. That is a very good platform for up and coming artistes to nurture their talent and gain visibility,” said the comical Wanjiku.
The comedienne – known to craft her jokes out of mimicking teachers who impart language knowledge in students, especially Kiswahili –, says she knew Churchill way before he became a household name.
“He is a good friend of mine and he was also a family friend; our history goes way back. Churchill and I did comedy at the Kenya National Theatre. At Churchill Show, I went to work. He knows me better; probably more than people would imagine,” she divulged.
“I joined Churchill Show in 2013 and according to my contract; I was supposed to appear as an act in the show for only one year. So, when the contract ended, I did not renew it. I made the choice after much thinking and Churchill was aware of my decision to leave the show. The idea was to create the character Teacher Wanjiku outside Churchill Show,” she said.
“Because I am not an act on Churchill Show anymore, it does not mean I can’t go back and watch the show or greet people, No!”
After leaving Churchill Show in December, 2013, Teacher Wanjiku featured as the main act in a programme Teacher Wanjiku, which aired on Citizen Television in February, 2014 – and just after one episode, it was taken off air.
Expectedly, Kenyans ganged up against her on social media, criticising her for a show that they termed as ‘boring’.
Did the barrage of negative comments weigh the experienced comedienne down?
“Of course! I am human. I felt bad. But the preparation for such kind of criticism when I joined this industry was enough to sustain me through challenges of criticism. My show on Citizen Television had good potential, but people were too quick to judge. If only I had been given more time, people would have seen the great show that Teacher Wanjiku was” she said with conviction.
“However, I look back at the show and say: I learnt something. It was challenging for me then but now I feel like it needed to happen. That show was not about me only. There was a team which put it together. But because it was titled Teacher Wanjiku, if it failed, it would be linked to me; if it had succeeded it would have been linked to me,” she said.
All said and done, she remains an acclaimed comic star; and her secret is: “I research, go back to books – primary, secondary school books.”
And the interview would be incomplete if Teacher Wanjiku did not share some nuggets of wisdom: “I urge women to come out in large numbers to explore their talents in comedy. They should not be intimidated by haters. I was ridiculed endlessly, but I marched forth.”
Teacher Wanjiku, a mother of two daughters (aged 13 and 11months), says after a year-long hiatus, she is back in the world of comedy – rejuvenated and rearing to go.
“I am back with a bang! Expect a show which is happening on October 21, 2016 at the Kenya National Theatre. It is going to be a one-person performance. I urge people to come and get some lessons from me. For details visit my social media pages Wanjiku the Teacher.”