Cover Story

Embracing the Unexpected: Lenana Kariba

In the August-September Parent’s Magazine issue, Lenana Kariba reflects on his journey from the youngest “spoiled child” in his family (which his wife says he denies) to a renowned actor.

Embracing the Unexpected: Lenana Kariba
  • PublishedJanuary 9, 2024

In the August-September Parent’s Magazine issue, Lenana Kariba reflects on his journey from the youngest “spoiled child” in his family (which his wife says he denies) to a renowned actor. He describes his childhood as ordinary, growing up in Ridgeways, Kiambu County, and attending St. Christopher’s High School in Nairobi, where he joined the drama club for easy grades but inadvertently found his passion for acting. Lenana Kariba’s story is not just about his rise to fame; it’s a heartfelt tale of a man who fell into acting almost by chance and embraced the journey that followed.

Despite an incidental start in acting with a role in the hospital drama series “Saints” right after high school, Lenana’s dedication grew as he realized the joy of performing. After landing the role he said, “…I guess I can act,” and he’s been working harder and getting better ever since. His role in the Showmax Crime and Justice series and his memorable work in the whole production of Auntie Boss showcase his versatile acting abilities and comedic talent, his growth and a result of the hard work he promised himself.

Lenana’s journey was met with the harsh realities of the acting world, from irregular pay to the transient nature of television shows. Lenana candidly discusses these industry challenges. He stresses the importance of preparation for roles, understanding character motivations, and the joy of bringing new facets to each character he plays.

Balancing his thriving career with his personal life, Lenana talks about his love for Kenya and his strong ties to his British wife, Helen, with whom he has a daughter. The family has managed to blend cultures and navigate their careers and parenting in both Kenya and the UK, despite the pressures of the acting industry and the pandemic.

The article dives into Lenana’s personal life, revealing his deep connection to Kenya, where he was born and raised, and his relationship with the UK, where he now spends a significant amount of time with Helen, and their daughter. The couple’s story is one of rapid decisions, international moves, and the balancing act of career and family. They describe how the pandemic prompted them to accelerate their wedding plans, eventually tying the knot in a picturesque ceremony in Antigua.

Both Lenana and Helen juggle demanding careers—her background in economics and finance contrasts with his creative pursuits. They share insights into supporting each other’s dreams, the flexibility required to maintain a family across continents, and the mutual dedication to their daughter’s upbringing and well-being.

The Karibas confront the challenges of parenting, discussing the trials, joys, and unexpected lessons that come with raising a child. They stress the importance of learning from each other, adapting to new situations, and being there for their daughter as she grows.

The couple emphasizes the importance of mutual support and flexible work arrangements, allowing them to spend more time with their daughter Ava and support each other’s aspirations.

Dealing with public life and negative comments on social media, Lenana remains unaffected, choosing to focus on the positive aspects of his career and life choices. He addresses the negative comments with a stoic attitude, focusing on the impact such remarks have on his family rather than himself.

Looking ahead, Lenana advises aspiring actors to develop resilience and perseverance, acknowledging the tough competition and the importance of not giving up after setbacks. He also enjoys fashion, having won style awards, which he views as a surprising but welcome acknowledgement of his influence.

Concluding his interview with ParentsAfrica, Lenana leaves you with a grounded perspective: “It’s okay to look up to anyone; just be yourself; don’t try to be someone else,” a sentiment that resonates deeply with the values and interests of anyone raising children in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. Lenana offers advice to aspiring actors, encouraging them to persevere through the industry’s competitiveness and to remain authentic to themselves.

Written By
Muinde Brian