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Tahidi High actress makes comeback as Zuena

Kenyan actress Shirleen Wangari, who rose to fame for her roles in the Taahidi High and Shuga series, is back on our screens as Zuena.

The film which premiered last week on Maisha Magic East Movies revolves around a 27-year old Zuena, who relocates to her rural home in a small fishing village in Mombasa, where her elder sister runs a dance troupe as a source of livelihood after living in Nairobi for seven years.

Wangari produced the film through her Blackwell films company that was directed by Jesse Kyalo from Wavamizi.

“I loved the engaging work, the raw honesty in the words. Swahili is great, but deep Swahili when you are not used to speaking it can be challenging, but when the actors and actresses you are with are performing at 100 percent you have to step up. Have you heard Sahara Mohammed and George Kituto speak?” she paused.

She adds that the edit was the most grueling because there were many sleepless nights, almost giving up.

“I’m so grateful for the team considering the fact that I’m not a technical person; I learned a whole lot. I can’t wait to make many more moving epic sagas with these great people. I’m grateful for the opportunity given,” she told Act Scene.

When she goes back to her childhood home in a small fishing village in Mombasa, she is welcomed by her sister Khadija (33) who runs a dance troupe of women who perform at events including weddings, baby showers, and more providing a livelihood for the village.

The bookings have been low and the livelihoods of the villagers are under threat frustrations growing. The young ladies are rumored to be pursuing prostitution in the main cities and the young boys are dealing drugs.

Zainab (7), Zuena’s daughter who knows her as aunty shares her room with her ‘aunty’ in the family home that is now Khadija’s and her husband a fisherman.

Zuena runs into her childhood sweetheart Zainab’s father Ayub (28) a successful handsome businessman who runs a dhow business, taking clients out to sea for dinner and breathtaking sunsets.

Their feelings are still evident, Ayub confesses he is still in love with her but he is married to her high school best friend. A villager sees Ayub holding her and reports to her sister. A huge fight erupts between the sisters when Khadija tells Zuena not to bring her lose ways to the community and family.

She reminds Khadija that she is barren. Khadija slaps her hard and tells her to leave and never come back. At the seaside Ayub comforts her but she says she has to deal with this on her own and make things right. She goes back to the village and tells her sister she has a wedding gig booked for the troupe; the sister wants to hear none of it but the dancers want the gig. Things are tough at the moment. The sisters reconcile, Ayub is discovered to be the main drug dealer in the region and is arrested at the seaside. The wedding gig happens, proving a great success for the troupe as they get more bookings.

The Director of photography is Daudi Anguka of Pete fame while the associate producer is Saint P. Zuena was edited by Guy G and Jabril Blessing was the colourist. It was co-written by Clifford B Okumu while Hamisi Omar was the cinematographer.