It is Wednesday morning when Media Critic Kenya’s David Mwenda calls Eddy Peter, commonly known as Zach in the drama series My Two Wives that runs on KTN every Monday at 8pm.
As he picks the call, he is getting his kids ready to go for football practice. It takes a few seconds before he gets them to cool down.
The interview happens a few days to the 2018 edition of Kalasha Awards, where he would later win in a category where the nominees’ list looked like:
Best Lead Actor in a TV Drama
Martin Githinji (Johnie) – Sue na Johnnie (Maisha Magic East)
Pascal Tokodi (Nelson) – Selina (Maisha Magic East)
Eddy Peter (Zach) – My Two Wives (KTN) — WINNER
Joseph Gachanja – Stringed (KBC)
Samson Psenjen (Saha) – Keru (K24)
From the interview, it turns out Zach has had a quite successful acting career even before My Two Wives became a hit. He has been on Changing Times and the movie Shattered which starred Rita Dominic and many others. Here is what he had to say.
I read somewhere you lost your parents at an early age. How was it before and after losing parents?
Definitely, life with parents is amazing. You have someone who cares for you and takes care of you. I lost my dad when I was six years old and we were left with my mum and then she also passed when I was 16. That is where life changed I had more responsibility to take care of my younger brother. I was pissed off and I just lost hope in God and started living in a very different way because I was brought up in a Christian home.
You say you lost hope in God. What made you come back?
What made me come back? (laughs). So, for 10 years, I lived my life in a crazy mode — clubbing and all sorts of things. In 2009 is when I had a near-death experience and decided it was time to change my life. I had just come back to Kenya from Germany. That is when I decided to change my ways and ever since, life has been amazing.
You started acting in 2010, right?
Yes. Professionally, I started in 2010. But I was doing it even before.
I read somewhere you started acting in nursery school as Joseph in a Christmas Play.
Yes, I was Joseph. It was a play for our primary school — Word of Life School, Mombasa.
So, you started acting professionally in 2010. You describe the journey as literally very hard. There was not so much technology as much as there is right now; so it was hard finding out about auditions. Do you think technology has shaped the acting space in Kenya?
Definitely, yes. In our days, you could only know about TV auditions by either going to KNT or Alliance Française. So, every day you had to go there and find out if there were there any auditions. It was a bit crazy. And some of them were private.
But why keep them private?
The reasons some they (producers) keep auditions private is because they have they are looking for something specific so they will just call you if they think you can pull it off. I also think another reason they do it is because they want to keep off high school kids who want to come into the industry because of the fame and think acting is just something you do for fun. So, I understand.
Talking about high school kids and people coming into the industry, how do we make them understand acting is a career and not just something we do for fun? How do we create that culture?
I think what is happening in Kenya is that acting is being accepted as a career. This is one of the main things that need to be understood by parents and the people coming into acting. I think it is also important to have schools where people are taught about these things. Currently, we have a few schools like Daystar and the likes who are doing such. But we can do better.
What was your first audition and time on set?
My first audition was very horrible (laughs). I could not remember the lines and I was just a bit nervous. My first role was in Changing Times (that used to run on KTN). I met the producer at a concert and asked her for a job and the director took my number and told me they would call. They did not; they called a year later. In my first role on TV, I got to work with people who were big at that time, the likes of Joyce Musoke and they were really supportive and would be patient every time I forgot my lines. They encouraged me to push on.
Let’s talk about My Two Wives; what went through your mind when you learnt that you had to play the role of a polygamous man?
I actually did not know I would be playing the role of the main character, Zach. When I was given the script is when I learnt about my role. However, I thought it would be an important role because it is telling an interesting story about our lives as Kenyans; because these things happen to us and it speaks to us as My Two Wives has.
Are we as Kenyans telling our stories?
I can say we are getting there. It’s been a journey but Kenyan producers are now getting it. A few years ago, we were running to do things like Nollywood guys are doing. However, now they are finding it important for us to tell our stories and it is a good thing.
Where were you when you learnt that you had been nominated for Kalasha?
We were on set actually working when the call came in. The producer took us aside, my co-stars and I, and told us that we had been nominated for Kalasha. There was excitement, some few tears here and there, but overall we were excited.
You look up to Raymond Ofula. What is the one thing you learnt from him when you got to work with him?
Humility. Raymond is very humble and treats everyone equally. He listens to everyone and does not show that he is a star or has been in the game for long. So, I guess we will say humility.
What is the one thing family has taught you?
To always be available. It is important to be available for your family, for your children and always spend quality time with them. Personally, I try to spend every single free moment I have with my wife and kids and that is something I treasure most.
Final question: When we started you started you said you love God and are a Christian. What’s your favorite Bible verse?
John 3:16, man (laughter).
“For God so loved the world…?”
Yes, and another that keeps me moving is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”