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Nairobi Half Life

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Director  David Tosh Gitonga
7.6/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama
Country  Kenya
Nairobi Half Life movie poster
Language  Swahili English Sheng
Release date  19 July 2012 (2012-07-19) (Durban Film Festival)
Writer  Billy Kahora (writing supervisor), Potash Charles Matathia (script writer), Samuel Munene (script writer), Serah Mwihaki (script writer)
Cast  Joseph Wairimu (Mwas), Olwenya Maina (Oti), Nancy Wanjiku Karanja (Amina)
Awards  Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Achievement In Sound
Producers  Tom Tykwer, Sarika Hemi Lakhani, Ginger Wilson
Similar movies  Sorry for the Disturbance, Sex Tape, Dear Grandfather, Snapshot, غش الزوجية, Hena Maysara
Tagline  Have we decided to be the way we are?

Psiff 2013 nairobi half life trailer hd

Nairobi Half Life is a 2012 Kenyan drama film directed by David "Tosh" Gitonga. The film was selected as the Kenyan entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, but did not make the final shortlist, and is the first time Kenya has submitted a film in this category.


Nairobi Half Life movie scenes

At the 33rd Durban International Film Festival, Joseph Wairimu won the award for Best Actor. He also won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Most Promising Actor from the Awards 9th ceremony.

Nairobi Half Life movie scenes

It won the most awards at Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards 2014.

Nairobi Half Life movie scenes

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A young man, Mwas (Joseph Wairimu) still lives with his parents in their rural home in Kenya. He makes a living by selling western action films, he dramatically acts and portrays most of the action figures in his films in order to entice his customers. He is an aspiring actor, and when he comes across a group of actors from Nairobi performing in his town, he asks one of them to help him jump start his acting career. But, in return, he is asked to give ksh1000 (approximately US$10) in order for him to be cast in one of the plays. He can only afford ksh500 and is told to take the other 500 with him to the National theatre in Nairobi. He is very excited, and, after receiving some money from his mother, he embarks on his journey to Nairobi with a brief stop over in his town to bade his friends goodbye. He meets his cousin (a gang leader) who gives Mwas an expensive radio system and some money to take to Khanji electronic shop in downtown Nairobi.

Nairobi Half Life BIFF Movie Review Nairobi Half Life

After making his way to Nairobi, he quickly learns that there is more to Nairobi than just opportunities and glamour. On the first day, Mwas loses everything he has to Nairobi thugs and is left stranded and confused especially because he knows no one. He gets arrested and even spends a day in jail. In a twist of events, he meets a Nairobi crook Oti (Olwenya Maina) who becomes a close friend and takes him into his criminal gang. The gang itself specializes in snatch and grab thievery with vehicle parts being their main targets. During this time, Mwas auditions and successfully lands a part in a local play set up by Phoenix Players. He finds himself struggling and juggling the two separate worlds. Mwas finally meets his cousin again who ends up forcing him to steal a car in order to clear his debt. He convinces the gang to move up from stealing parts to stealing cars in order to earn more. During that time, he falls in love with Oti's onscreen love interest Amina, coming to see her at the lodgings at which she receives customers and even taking her out to the films.


Nairobi Half Life Nairobi Half Life AFI Fest Review Hollywood Reporter
  • Joseph Wairimu as Mwas
  • Olwenya Maina as Oti
  • Nancy Wanjiku Karanja as Amina
  • Mugambi Nthiga as Cedric
  • Paul Ogola as Mose
  • Antony Ndung'u as Waf
  • Johnson Gitau Chege as Kyalo
  • Kamau Ndungu as John Waya
  • Abubakar Mwenda as Dingo
  • Mburu Kimani as Daddy M
  • Mehul Savani as Khanji
  • Maina Joseph as Kimachia
  • Reception

    Nairobi Half Life WOW Nairobi Half Life 15 Aberystwyth Arts Centre

    The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy praised the film after watching it at the 2012 AFI Fest: "This dynamic crime drama comes across as fundamentally honest and vividly realistic." KenyaBuzz singled out the show-stealing raw performance by Maina Olwenya as Oti saying: "This character is more ghetto than listening to old NWA albums. He speaks with a criminal confidence and walks like he owns the city despite being a common criminal."

    Nairobi Half Life KSV Film NAIROBI HALF LIFE

    At the 2014 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards in March 2014, Nairobi Half Life received awards for:

    Nairobi Half Life Film Walrus Reviews Film Atlas Kenya Nairobi Half Life
  • Best Cinematographer (Christian Almesberger)
  • Best Lighting Designer (Mohamed Zain)
  • Best Make-Up Artist (Elayne Okaya) and
  • Best Art Director (Barbara Minishi).

  • Nairobi Half Life Film Review Nairobi Half Life 2012


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