It’s hard to separate Stitchy Blaze from his character as Pabgee in Machachari. It might be because of his charismatic performance on the popular show or because that’s where we mostly know him from. However, away from the TV screens, he focusses on his YouTube channel and other business ventures. I caught up with him to talk about his passion for filmmaking and his take on Kenyan entertainment industry.
- Tell us about yourself
Stitch, or Stitchy Blaze, is a Kenyan filmmaker, actor, musician and entrepreneur. My real name is Duncan Wafula, a name which not to so many people are familiar with.
- What’s the meaning of “Stitchy Blaze”?
I first gave myself the name Stitch while still in High School. I used to get a lot of stitches when playing b/ball (not part of the school team though) cause I loved going to the court immediately after supper. So I was like, ” These stitches are part of me now. In fact, that’s my name from right now!” Blaze came later on after school as I was name hunting for a dope moniker that would match my energy and sound just like me. So, Blaze stuck too.
- What’s a day in your life like?
I’m not usually a routine person since I tend to do so many things. Of course, there are things that I do that have a consistent pattern- I wake up at 6, log on to YouTube and watch like 10 minutes of motivational speeches or new music, head to my PC and start editing either client’s videos (documentaries, films, weddings, music videos, real estate…name them) or my own projects. Most of my morning hours are spent editing, responding to emails, sending work etc. In the afternoons, either I run errands in town, meetings, or hit the studio and work on my music. I also fill out customers’ orders on my new clothing line ” 16 KNOTS” and fulfil shipping orders.
- When did you start acting?
When I was little. I used to participate in choral verses in Primary school, church drama and things like that.
- What attracted you to be an actor?
I used to watch a lot of Jet Li and Jackie Chan movies and wanted to be like them. As a matter of fact, I specifically wanted to go to Hollywood and meet with Jet Li.
- Tell us about your character on Machachari
In Machachari I play Babgee, a mischevious guy with a mysterious past, but who has a lot of passion and is willing to do anything to go up the ladder of life. He’s funny too!
- Do you prepare for the role or do you let it come naturally?
I always prepare for each episode by going through the script and getting to know what is needed from me and what I need to do. Also, preparation is done in many subtle ways like just getting in the right frame of mind to get into my character on Machachari.
- What’s your experience working on Machachari?
I can say it has been a good ride. I enjoy all the roles I play and its always fun to be among other great actors in this country and I get a lot of fulfilment from that.
- What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an actor?
In my mind, I always feel like I can do better in my roles. Sometimes people praise, like, “Excellent job!” but in my mind, I’d be like, ” I don’t like it at all. That performance was sub-par!” It is a big challenge (laughs). Other than that, the rest of the challenges I see them as opportunities to learn.
- What’s your best memory on-set?
There are so many but the most memorable one was during the shooting of the Wedding Episode where Babgee and Sofia get married. King Kaka performed, I had a nice suit on. It was fun and for some reason, my mind keeps replaying it.
- How did you discover your musical talent?
I used to love rap Hip Hop growing up. I crammed a lot of Hip Hop verses and just naturally found myself writing lyrics and performing them. I had my first performance during a funkie in high school. The girls loved it and I even got a girlfriend after the show.
- Who inspires you to do music?
I think all the musicians that I look up to inspire me. Jay Z, Wizkid, Kanye, Koffi Olomide… They’re so good at what they do, man.
- What do you think of the Kenyan entertainment industry?
I think the industry has grown a lot in terms of both content quality and the number of people actively making their living from the industry. We still have a long way to go in terms of promoting our own material locally and globally. We just need more people to put their egos aside and work together. But I don’t think about the industry that much. I just think of what I can do to advance in the game.
- Do you prefer YouTube or mainstream entertainment?
In 2019, YouTube is now mainstream entertainment. Thousands of YouTubers have sprung up in the last couple of years with great content. The only difference could be that mainstream TV and radio stations have more funds and resources to produce and promote higher quality content, but that is changing. As for me, I prefer YouTube. It’s the future!
- How do you come up with skits for your YouTube channel?
Ideas just flow. Any time an idea strikes I make sure to note it down on my phone’s notepad. I have a lot of them in there. Sometimes I brainstorm with my homies and come up with hilarious scenes!
- Would you like to collab with other Kenyan YouTubers? If yes, who?
Oh yes. I watch a lot of Kenyan content on youtube! Akina Desagu, East Meets West. Ni wengi. I would want to collab with almost all of them. I mean, the consistent ones.
- What advice would you give people who want a career in entertainment?
Just like anything else in life, you really have to be committed to what you do. Additionally. you should set goals and achieve them. There’s no other way. Work very hard for what you want.