International

Top Kenyan actor ‘died waiting to be admitted to hospital’

Popular Kenyan actor Charles Bukeko, who passed away on Saturday at 58, died in a car while waiting for admission to a hospital in the capital, Nairobi, his widow has told mourners.

The hospital has not responded to requests from the BBC for comment.

The actor has now been buried under strict Covid-19 regulations at his rural home in the west of the country.

His widow, Beatrice Ebbie Andega, revealed the details of his death.

Mr Bukeko, popularly known by his most famous screen name Papa Shirandula, died from breathing complications.

Prior to falling ill, Ms Andega said Mr Bukeko had had a busy month and mingled with lots of people.

Papa Shirandula was a burly, bubbly character in a long-running series by the same name on Kenya’s Citizen television. It told the story of a watchman who lived in denial; a security guard in maroon uniform by day, who would change into a suit and go back home as a white-collar employee to fool his demanding wife and relatives.

So popular was Papa that he landed leading roles with worldwide brands like Coca Cola and Fifa among others. Dozens of current actors, many of whom have since landed jobs as prime-time radio presenters, credit Mr Bukeko with kick starting their careers.