Single Kiasi (Singleish), the new Kenyan Showmax Original, is now streaming, with new episodes releasing every Thursday. The show will also be available to Kenyans in the UK, France and 31 other countries in the diaspora.
What does the pursuit for the one look like for 30-something women in Nairobi?
Sintamei (Gathoni Mutua) is trying to start a family with her loving husband Kevin (Lucarelli Onyango) while also building her career as a corporate lawyer.
Rebecca (Faith Kibathi) is all about motherhood, being a housewife and staying loyal to her “husband” Eric (Michael Munyoki), even though he doesn’t have a shilling to his name.
And Mariah (Minne Kariuki) is all about expensive gifts and traveling to the best destinations her rich sponsor’s money can buy, while chasing the next social media high and sharing slay queen dating tips with her many followers. “Paris was amazing. If your guy takes you to Dubai, please dump him,” she tells her fans while on a private jet from her vacation in France.
When we catch up with them in the first episode of Single Kiasi, they seem to have their lives and their romantic relationships under control. But dating in Nairobi can be hectic, and it doesn’t take long before the men of Single Kiasi prove the popular saying in the city’s dating scene: “Men will embarrass you unprovoked,” as reiterated by Mariah.
In the course of the 13 episodes, Single Kiasi follows Sintamei, Rebecca and Mariah as they go through the ups and downs of love and dating in Nairobi while also reminding us that, at the end of the day, friendship is the most powerful relationship they can have.
Single Kiasi is the second Showmax Original series in Kenya after the Kalasha-winning Crime and Justice.
The show is adapted from the popular South African series Unmarried, which already has successful adaptations in Nigeria (Unmarried Nigeria) and Ghana (To Have and To Have Hold).
“It’s a universal story of womanhood, love and friendship,” says producer and director Grace Kahaki. “But we had to make some changes here and there for the story to fit to who we are as Kenyans.”
For instance, Single Kiasi incorporates a Kikuyu traditional marriage ceremony (nguracio) in place of a church wedding.
“In the South African version, one of the leading women has an affair with a security guard but we felt that this wasn’t authentic to the Kenyan setting so changed the guard to an intern, which is more reflective of what happens here,” Kahaki says.
Single Kiasi tackles important issues that Kenyan women go through, such as sexism in the workplace like when Sintamei is passed over for a promotion that she clearly deserves, sexual assault like in the case of Mariah who is forced to confront a past she’d rather forget, and women (and mothers) finding their own identities outside of what society expects of them like Rebecca getting to relive her youth which she missed out on by marrying too young.
“This show aims to look at women through our three main characters and allow them to choose what label they want to attach to themselves, be it single, married, wife, career woman, mother, etc,” Kahaki says.
Kahaki co-produced and co-directed Single Kiasi alongside her Insignia Productions counterpart Philippe Bresson, and Robby Bresson (Simiyu Samurai).