L to R- Linda Osifo, Michelle Dede, Omotu Bissong, Marcy Dolapo-Oni, Kehinde Bankole & Nini Wacera
We have been waiting for this for a while now and excited to hear that Desperate Housewives Africa, the local adaptation of the multiple award-winning ABC television drama hit series, is set to launch on April 30, 2015, exclusively on EbonyLife TV, DStv Channel 165.
This launch is to be preceded by a premiere in Lagos on April 28 where the new Desperate Housewives of Africa will be introduced in person along with the all-African suburban ‘Wisteria Lane’ neighbourhood where the series will be based.
Whilst the set location is still under wraps for the time being, it can be confirmed that Desperate Housewives Africa will closely reflect the original multi-award winning American version with a uniquely African flavour. Viewers can look forward to an enthralling and spell-binding homegrown pilot that takes the Desperate Housewives format as you once knew it to scandalously new dimensions.
Meet The Cast
Nini Wacera As Ese De Souza (Bree Van de Kamp)
Nini Wacera is a household name in the Kenyan and the African TV and film industry. Throughout the course of her career, she has carved a niche for herself as a seasoned connoisseur of the Arts. She started her acting career as a 6 year old, when she featured in a Maclean’s Toothpaste commercial. Her passion for performance began there.
Nini has starred in a myriad of productions ranging from Phoenix Players stage productions such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Dedan Kimathi, All Girls Together, to notable TV Dramas and Films such as Dangerous Affair (Baraka Films), Wingu la Moto (NTV), Project Daddy (Baraka Films), Nairobi Law (Citizen TV), Changes (MNET) and the critically acclaimed Nairobi Half Life (One Fine Day Films) and Something Necessary (One Fine Day Films).
She currently stars as Julia Oyange in the all new M‐Net Pan African Telenovela ‘KONA’. Besides her acting prowess, Nini, a Producer and a perceptive Casting Director with an extraordinary eye for talent, is an accomplished Radio Show Host, having hosted Late Night Capital on 98.4 Capital Fm for 7 years. She also hosted the 1st season of the television show Dad’s Can Cook.
Nini is the mother to 12 year old Emmanuella and in her downtime, loves extreme sports (the thrill of the kill!) and despite invading living rooms across Kenya and Africa, enjoys the pleasure of her own company.
Marcy Dolapo Oni As Rume Bello (Mary Alice Young)
“Being part of “Desperate Housewives Africa” is very exciting. I was such a fan of the U.S. version and can’t wait to see how our own storylines cater to and engage our African audiences.”
Marcy Dolapo Oni is an actress and media personality who works on TV across the entire continent of Africa. She began her African television career in 2010, after a very successful acting career in the U.K as the lead on the MNet show ’53 Extra’. From there she was nominated amongst hundreds of contestants as one of the two chosen co-hosts on Africa’s number one talk show, “Moments with Mo” which is exclusive to EbonyLife TV; Africa’s premium entertainment channel.
Dolapo has worked globally from stage and television, to radio, crafting her expertise in entertainment. Her acting credits include outstanding roles in plays like ‘Iya-Ile’ (The First wife), produced by Soho Theatre/the Tiata Fahodzi Company in the UK. The stage piece was written by award winning playwright, Oladipo Agboluaje, who was also behind the short-film “Area Boys,” shot in the bustling metropolitan city of Lagos, Nigeria. This play was nominated for the Most Prestigious British theatre awards, The Lawrence Olivier Award in the “Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre” category.
Dolapo was cast in the BBC mini-series ‘Vexed’ where she played the character of Tina T, one of three members of a pop band and the heart and soul of the group. In 2011, Marcy was cast as the ‘Lady in Blue’ in the Nigerian adaptation of the famous Broadway stage play, ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf’ by Ntozake Shange. Others include powerful roles in the hit South African TV- Series ‘Jacob’s Cross’.
A multiple award winning actor to include the Dorothy L. Sayers Actors Award in the UK in 2006, Dolapo has shared the stage with notable actresses like Joke Silva, Jenny Jules and Danny Sapani. She has also worked with internationally renowned and seasoned actors like Lucy Punch, Tony Stephens and Jude Akuwudike.
Omotu Bissong As Funke Lawal (Lynette Scavo)
“Heaven put a smile on my face. I am happy to be a resident of Africa’s Wisteria Lane. I am truly grateful to God for the opportunity.”
As Most Beautiful in Nigeria, representing Nigeria in both the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants respectively, Omotu is an Actor, Presenter and Model. After modelling in New York with Ikon New York, she came back to Nigeria to pursue her love for the arts and entertainment, co-presenting the first edition of the “Peak Talent Show” and “Africa Awakes” on Africa Magic. Appearing on the telenovela “Echoes”, she fell in love with the arts and acquired a Diploma in Acting from the Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts run by award winning actress, Joke Silva.
On-screen, she has starred in “Infinity Hospital” from award winning Amaka Igwe Productions, “Tinsel” an MNet Africa TV Series, “Be My Guest,” a movie by Ghanaian director Eddie Seedorf, “Steal” an award-winning short film from Lufodo Productions, to name a few. Her on stage credits include:” The Calling” directed by award-winning actress Omonor Somolu, ” London Life, Lagos Living” directed by Kenneth Uphopho, “Incorruptible Judge” directed by Toyin Oshinaike, among many others.
With a vibrant personality and love for performance, she is a team player and loves to learn, making her participate in acting workshops offered by Ifeoma Fafunwa, the founder and creative director of iOpenEye, a performance art production company in Nigeria. Omotu loves to read, sing, meet people, exercise and travel.
She is looking forward to working in the next award-winning Nigerian series or in any feature opposite Denzel Washington!
Michelle Dede As Tari Gambadia (Susan Mayer)
“An absolute baptism of fire: exhilarating, exhausting, enthralling. I’m elated to be taking on a new challenge and bringing an African interpretation to a beloved character.”
A dynamic, energetic and versatile multilingual TV, entertainment and live-events presenter/host, voice over artist and stage actor, Michelle Dede was co-presenter for the first ever ‘Big Brother Nigeria’ The hit reality TV format from Endemol, broadcast live across 40 African countries.
Michelle has MC’d various events for renowned Nigerian and international brands, including Maybelline New York, Nokia, UBA, Sahara Group, as well as hosting in both English and French the closing gala for the Africa International Film Festival (Afriff) and the inaugural launch of the UAE airline Etihad Airways in Nigeria, to name a few.
She has also presented for ‘Nigeria International’, a TV programme (syndicated to AIT Europe, AIT Nigeria, AIT USA) that delved into the lives of Nigerians at home and in diaspora. Michelle previously co-hosted three Seasons of ‘The Family Game Show’ and is currently one of the hosts of Glam Report TV, a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle magazine TV show on Africa Magic Entertainment on Africa’s largest cable network DStv.
Having worked as a guest DJ on Ethiopian Radio, she also featured in the 2009/2010 Nigerian stage production of Eve Ensler’s world renowned ‘Vagina Monologues’, amongst many other award winning productions. Her life experiences growing up and living in all five continents make her a global citizen with a readiness and curiosity for experiencing new people, places and cultures.
Kehinde Bankole As Kiki Obi (Gabrielle Solis)
I am elated to be part of a show that understands and celebrates the African difference and essence – our side of this story! If the story hasn’t been told in an African way, it seems incomplete!
Kehinde Bankole is an actress known for her unique acting prowess on soaps, series and movies. She is currently in the cinemas for Kunle Afolayan’s “October 1”. A versatile actress, Kehinde is known for her many varying roles and character interpretations on projects such as “Super Story”, “The Meeting”, “The Return of Jeniffa”, “Awakening”, “Echoes”, “Façade”, and “This-Life” series where her career roots sprung.
Kehinde, who studied Mass communication in Ogun State University Nigeria, is known for her deep love for the arts, culture and language and had a major career highlight when she showed the world her well rounded singing, dancing and acting skills performing at the Winter’s Tale adapted “Itan Oginintin” fully in Yoruba language at the 2012 LONDON GLOBE TO GLOBE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL with Wole Oguntokun’s Renegade theatre.
When she is not acting, she spends her time with family, relaxing and cooking, a hobby she showed on TV while hosting “The African Kitchen” cooking show, prior to the debut of her own co-produced former family talk show, “The Soul Sister Show”. Kehinde is also a song writer with plans to go public someday.
An accomplished model and top 10 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria beauty pageant contender, Kehinde, an ex beauty brand ambassador, was recognized in 2009, as the REVELATION OF THE YEAR by “Best of Nollywood” for her performance in “ELERIN EYE”.
Linda Osifo As Rhetta Moore (Edie Britt)
“Being on Desperate Housewives Africa has made me feel that whatever you can dream you can achieve with determination, boldness, risk and faith. It brings me joy and excitement to be part of what Africa is about to experience through this project.”
Linda Osifo is a young Nigerian-born beauty raised in Toronto, Canada since the age of 8 years old. She discovered her strong passionate interest always being drawn to the glam lights of stage performance in Fine Arts. At the age of 12, she played lead roles in school theatre plays, modeling in fashion shows and acting in church plays. While completing her Psychology degree, she participated in various beauty pageants, emerging as 1st runner up in the Miss Nigeria Canada 11′ and 2nd runner up in Miss Africanada 11′.
In 2012, Linda got into acting and TV hosting professionally. She anchored the 1st annual African Entertainment Awards and was the host of an Afropolitan show called, ‘My Talk Show’, on TelAfric TV Network Canada. Linda starred as a supporting lead role in her first film, ‘Family Secrets Soap Opera’, in New Jersey that was directed by Ikechukwu Onyeka. She ventured into the Nollywood industry in 2013, that led her into working with producers such as Emem Isong and Zik Zulu. She played minor roles in Nollywood films such as ‘King Akubueze’, ‘Heal my Pain’, ‘Oasis’, ‘Going to America’ and others yet to be released.
Jason Nwoga As Larry Izama (Mike Delfino)
“I’m fortunate to be part of such a fantastic production. Simply amazing!”
Jason Nwoga is a fast rising British-trained actor from Nigeria. He is a graduate from Drama Studio, London, and has been exhibiting his skills for many years in the industry. His talents are boundless, from presenting in television and radio to being a voice over artist, and theatre artist. His early works include performing with prestigious companies such as The BBC, ITV for television, and he has also had the honour of gracing the Royal Shakespeare Company’s stage.
Jason has worked as an on air presenter for the radio station, The Beat 99.9, and has presented for many television programmes as well. His style of presenting, which he acquired through his education, experience and his very own nature, is second to none. Jason also starred in the popular television series ‘Tinsel’ and the smash hit television series ‘Echoes’. He more recently has had the chance to work with Shirley Frimpong Manso in the blockbuster series ‘ Adams Apple’. He also just starred in the new blockbuster “Potomanto”.
There are no limits to what Jason Nwoga can do.
Nonso Odogwu As Kay De Souza (Rex Van de Kamp)
“I already feel like I’ve been nominated for the Academy Awards, being part of this exhilarating drama series!”
Nonso Michael Odogwu is from Anambra State in Nigeria. He was born on 1st January, 1977. Nonso studied Mass Communication at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology. As an actor, he has featured in several TV and movie productions such as “Just the Two of Us”, “B is for Boy”, “Twitters”, “Number One”, “Nkeonye “, “Felicima”, “Tinsel”, “Cover Me” , “When Dreams Fall Apart”, “Yours Faithfully”, “Ajo Nwanyi”, and many more.
Apart from acting, I enjoy playing Video games. I like watching movies, I like dancing, hanging out with friends. I love children especially, the smart and bubbly ones. I think children are really good dancers and I love to watch them do that. I also hope to go into Events Management someday.
Ozzy Agu As Shina Lawal (Tom Scavo)
“I’m thrilled to be sharing a roof with a desperate housewife and 3 rambunctious children. Just thrilled!”
Ozzy completed his undergraduate study at Mercer University, Georgia with a degree in Business Administration and subsequently served as a Development Officer in the United States Peace Corps, Thailand.
It was while directing a Thai Youth Development workshop that he rediscovered his love of performance. Oz trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and T. Schreiber Studios in New York City.
He performed in various theater productions including the Central Park Summer Stage series, as well as a number of NYU grad student films.
Oz made his TV debut on DStv-MNET’s serial TINSEL as the character Omar. He is also a host on 53Extra, a fashion and lifestyle entertainment show on the same channel.
Joseph Benjamin As Chuka Obi (Carlos Solis)
“I feel really excited and honoured to be a part of this amazing cast for a show like this with such repute and equity. This, undoubtedly, is going to be the biggest television show in Africa.”
Joe (as he is fondly called) is an award winning and highly sought after actor in the Nollywood industry. Over the years, due to his versatility, he has become a household name across Africa as not only an actor, but also as an erudite host, model and voice over artiste.
The voice behind major advertising campaigns locally and internationally, Joe has appeared in over 34 movies and TV shows. Critics have compared Joseph Benjamin to Hollywood heavy weights like Will Smith, Morris Chestnut and the very talented Denzel Washington. Joseph has also made cameo appearances on popular TV series like The Bachelor, Young, Single and Free and Tinsel. His ultimate goal is to become a world-renowned actor securing roles locally and abroad.
Femi Branch As Deji Bello (Paul Young)
“As an actor, there are certain projects that come along only once in one’s career. Desperate Housewives Africa is certainly cream of the crop in this regard, or how better to describe the best thing to come out of African television this decade?”
Femi, a household name in the African movie started his Acting career in the University in 1991 when he took an interest in a stage play; ENIYAN (Everyman) Directed by Chuck Mike.
He has gone on to play huge roles in major productions to include OMEN OF LOVE (Nollywood/Hollywood collaboration directed by Lloyd Weaver); ORIRUN, DOMINO, Tade Ogidan’s BEHIND THE SIEGE, Tunji Bamishigbin’s HARMONY ESTATE, Tajudeen Adepetu’s BLAZE OF GLORY and 168 MINUTES, Ariyike Oladapo’s SPIDERS, MNET’s DOCTORS QUARTERS and TINSEL. Others include EMERALD, PRINCESS AND ME and LASGIDI COPS. He has remained a true favorite of Television audiences across the African continent with these productions. Till date, he has starred in over a hundred English and Yoruba language movies. Femi has also featured as lead characters in the advertising campaigns of key local and multinational brands of which MTN’s DANCE WITH ME commercial remains a major highlight.
Femi is an engaging Actor, Writer and Singer whose versatility never fails to leave his audience spell-bound. He is one of Nollywood’s leading-men and never fails to set hearts racing with his stellar-performances on TV, Stage and Movie screens all over the globe.
Femi is married with two lovely kids; Olive Momoreoluwa and Nathan Oluwatise.
Benjamin Lugo Touitou As Tai Etim (John Rowland)
“It was a priceless experience. The lessons and the exposure taught me to be a greater actor. Very professional setting. Amazing cast and crew.”
Born ‘Benjamin Abbah Nnayelugo Touitou’, in January 22, 1988 in Enugu State, to a Jewish Father from Israel and a Christian Mother from Imo State of Nigeria.
He was science inclined back in High School and graduated with a BSc. in Computer Science from Valley View University, Accra, Ghana in 2010. But his natural flare for the arts- drawing, poetry, drama/acting, dancing, singing, song writing etc. – always drove him to explore more. His fluid creativity and versatile temperament earned him several awards and leaderships positions, one of them being ‘Award of Versatility’.
Ben’s theatre arts skills have earned him a lot of recognition and he has written and directed a number of stage dramas himself. His cinema acting career started in 2008 while in the University, with a lead role in a movie and a series. He has also written and produced a few demo songs.