Zuku and Kenyan production house, Awali Entertainment, have announced an exclusive new drama series dubbed State House. The show is a modern day political drama, set in a fictional State House in East Africa, and focuses on the lives, loves and scandals that face the people who work, live and base their lives around the President.
Produced by award-winning Kenyan filmmakers, Wanuri Kahiu and Rebecca Chandler, the twists and turns of the unfolding drama will be spread through 12 riveting episodes as the first season of State House is slated for broadcast beginning this month on Zuku’s entertainment flagship, channel 100.
“This show is our first step into local political drama, a world which offers endless story telling possibilities,” said Hannelie Bekker, Managing Director of Wananchi Programming, adding that “investing in East African talent and raising the bar in local content remain a key focus for Zuku.”
Wanuri Kahiu, Writer and Director, Awali Entertainment Ltd, said they were delighted to collaborate with Zuku on their first drama series production.
“The series challenges the core of people’s ambition and explores the lengths they will go to in order to maintain power and position in a complex world.” Wanuri shared.
According to Wanuri, the character driven plot of the series is rife with intriguing story twists and suspense and is bound to resonate with Zuku’s audience.
The story revolves around the new leadership at the heart of the president’s station following the exit of the former president , President Entere and the marked entry of a young, popular and radical new Commander-In-Chief, Kajana Mda, played by seasoned TV personality Jimmy Gathu.
When the new first family moves into State House, the staff is threatened by the changes. Love and hate abound as the fresh employees settle in at the president’s residence, with the seductive new maid immediately setting her sights on the President’s son Junior Mda (Nick Mutuma).
Also, a long running secret relationship brews between the Head house-keeper Neema (Helen Keli) and the old president’s advisor and confidante, Eric Kiuma (Steve Matias), who is struggling to maintain his power against Catherine Mutwa (Karen “Kaz” Lucas), the new President’s feisty and ambitious PA. Should the relationship come to light, Neema will suffer more.
Awali worked with Cajetan Boy, Mungai Kiroga, and Wacuka Mungai, three pedigree writers with a range of television shows and feature films under their belts, to develop State House.
An extensive casting process resulted in a stellar line-up of celebrated artists, including Jimmy Gathu (reknowned TV and radio personality, actor in various movies and soaps including Changes), Chichi Seii, a Kenyan singer, stage, TV and film actress and dancer, and Helen Keli ( ‘By Any means Necessary’).
State House was selected out of 60 proposals sent by producers from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa, following Zuku’s 2013 request for proposals for unique, entertaining and marketable content.
“We had a wonderful response to our call-to-action and received some great pieces of work,” said Hannelie, revealing, “However, Awali’s submission really stood out for us… It is distinctively Kenyan, and yet widely accessible and appealing. The show has turned out really well and we have high hopes for it!”
State House will show on Zuku Entertainment, channel 100 (formerly Zuku Afrika) every Monday 8:30pm, starting 3 March. The 12 episodes will be followed by a “making of” episode, in which cast, crew, producers and broadcaster all give behind the scenes insights into the production. The first three episodes can also be seen at Imax (formerly 20th century) from February 21st to March 1st 2014.