Biography of Kanayo O. Kanayo
Anayo Modestus Onyekwere popularly known as Kanayo O. Kanayo is an award-winning Nigerian actor well known for his ritual killer roles in movies. With an unbroken record of 33 years acting career, Kanayo O Kanayo who is fondly called KOK is undoubtedly one of the biggest practitioners in Nollywood.
Early life and background of Kanayo O. Kanayo
Kanayo O. Kanayo was born March 1, 1962 in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria to Mr and Mrs Dobatus and Isabella Onyekwere. He attended early education at New Haven Primary School, Enugu and Secondary Technical School, Aba. For his higher studies, he attended University of Lagos where he obtained a diploma in Mass Communications and later a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the same University. He also holds a diploma in law and a masters degree in Political Science, also from UNILAG. The veteran actor was brought up by his elder brother, John Onyekwere in Enugu. Kanayo had a strict upbringing as his parents were religious. They inculcated discipline and humility in him at a young age which helped shape his life.
His Acting Career
Prior to acting, Kanayo delved into entrepreneurship; he used to buy, sew and sell shirts and suit materials to bank and office workers. He made his acting debut in 1992 classic film “Living in bondage“. The prominent actor played the role of Chief Omego in the blockbuster. Although he was paid a miserly N1,500 for his role in the movie, KOK has gone ahead to feature in over 250 movies, becoming one of the highest paid actors in the industry.
He made a guest appearance in the popular NTA series, New Masquerade alongside veterans like Zebrudaya, Giringory, Prince Jegede Shokoya and Ovuleria. He was also part of the cast of the Village Headmaster, featured on Television Play House, At Your Service and popular Soap Operas like Checkmate and Ripples. In 2019, the living in bondage star bagged a LLB from the University of Abuja.
His Political Career
Aside acting, KOK is also involved in Politics. In 2018, he declared his intention to run for the House of Representatives, Ahiazu/ Ezinihitte Mbaise Federal Constituency, Imo State under the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.
Somehow, he did not make it under the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA so he defected to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, where he supported his kinsman, Hon.Emeka Ihedihora, who was a stronger contender for the number one seat in Imo State. It was reported that Kanayo lost the same ticket to represent his people in the National Assembly, during the party’s primaries in 2011.
His Charity Works
Kanayo is not only acting but also giving back to the society. His philanthropic act saw the launch of Kanayo O Kanayo Mentoring Academy (KOKMA) which is aimed at mentoring youths. One of the goals of KOKMA is to identify the real strength of individuals and leverage on that.
He is currently a United Nations ambassador. He was conferred the title of MFR alongside Kenneth Nnebue (producer of Living in Bondage), Olu Jacobs, Enoch Adeboye, Queen Elizabeth and Fela Kuti during Nigeria’s centenary celebration.
Kanayo O. Kanayo’s Relationship and Family Life
The Nollywood thespian is married to his beautiful wife, Nneka Onyekwere and they have 4 children ( 3 boys and one girl) together.
Awards and Nominations
For his outstanding performances he has received several awards both from Nigeria and abroad.
In 2000, he won Afro Hollywood Award, London.
In 2006, he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Ambassador Award, New York, 2009
Nollywood Award of Excellence
Veteran Actor Award, Actors Guild of Nigeria, 2020
Kanayo O. Kanayo’s Net Worth
Kanayo has been in the movie industry for decades and has imprinted his name in Nollywood. Having an estimated net worth of $2.5 million dollars, he’s ranked as one of the richest and most influential celebrities in the Nigerian movie industry.