Anayo Modestus Onyekwere MFR popularly known as Kanayo O. Kanayo born 1 March 1962 is a Nigerian actor and lawyer. In 2006, he won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in the movie Family Battle.
Kanayo O Kanayo
Kanayo O. Kanayo was born Anayo Modestus Onyekwere on March 1, 1962, in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria. Growing up in a modest family, he displayed an early interest in the arts, foreshadowing his future in the entertainment industry.
Although he is a native of Nru Umueze Oboama Ezinihitte in the Mbaise Local Government Area, he was raised in Aba. He was born into the family of Mr. Donatus Onyekwere and Ezinne Isabella Onyekwere who had four children, Kanayo was their second child. Sadly, only his two sisters are alive to date.
He attended St. Joseph primary school in Aba, Abia State. and proceeded to Secondary Technical School in Aba for his secondary studies. He pursued a degree in Mass Communication at the University of Lagos, where he continued to hone his acting skills through participation in various theatrical productions.
He graduated from the University of Lagos with a degree in philosophy and diplomas in law and mass communication. He also completed a master’s program in political science. Furthermore, he returned to his tertiary education and he graduated from the University of Abuja with a law degree in 2018 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2020.
Kanayo began his acting career in 1982 by appearing in Nigerian Television Authority pictures. He made his screen debut in 1992’s “Living in Bondage,” a pivotal work that contributed significantly to the growth of the Nigerian film industry. Over the years, he became synonymous with playing complex and intriguing characters, earning him acclaim as one of Nollywood’s most versatile actors.
He has appeared in more than 100 movies, and his performance in the film “Across the Niger” earned him a nomination for the 2008 African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor. His most recent motion pictures are “Up North” and the sequel “Living in Bondage: Breaking Free.”
He ran unsuccessfully in 2011 for the office of chair of the Imo State House of Representatives. In addition, he ran unsuccessfully in 2018 for the Ahiazu/Ezinihitte Mbaise representative position in the Federal House of Representatives.
A political appointment to the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Studies board came to him in 2013 from former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
His outstanding performances have earned him numerous awards, including the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 2006 for his work in “Family Battle.” Throughout his acting career, he has won numerous accolades, including the 2005 Most Prominent Actor in Nigeria at the African Movie Academy Awards. 2006 Best Actor in a Leading Role at the African Movie Academy Awards, 2006 Best Actor in Nigeria at the Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards, and The Sun Award Winner 2020.
Throughout the centenary celebrations in 2014, the government honoured several Nigerians, including Kanayo O. Kanayo. He holds the designation of MFR and is currently an ambassador for the UN. Kanayo, Kenneth Nnebue, Olu Jacobs, Enoch Adeboye, Queen Elizabeth, and Fela Kuti were a few of the Nigerians who received recognition from the government in 2014 during the centenary celebration.
Kanayo O. Kanayo’s contributions have not only shaped the Nigerian film landscape but also garnered international recognition.
Philanthropy and Community Involvement
Beyond acting, Kanayo O. Kanayo has been actively involved in philanthropy. He established the Kanayo O. Kanayo Foundation, focusing on youth empowerment, education, and community development.
In 1999, Kanayo O Kanayo wed the lovely Nneka Onyekwere, and the couple went on to have four children—three boys and a girl.
Kanayo O. Kanayo loves and cares deeply for his wife. He and his wonderful wife have four children: a daughter named Uloaku Valerie Onyekwere and three sons named Kosisochukwu Montell, Einstein, and Clinton “Onye Eze Mbaise” Onyekwere.
Kanayo O. Kanayo has managed to keep details about his personal affairs away from the public eye. His commitment to his craft and charitable endeavours continues to define his legacy in the entertainment industry.
Kanayo O Kanayo has a net worth of over $3 million.
Source of Income
His work in Nollywood as an actor, director, and filmmaker. He also offers media consultancy services.
His Works in Nollywood
Kanayo O. Kanayo has been in over 250 Nollywood movies, such as “Circles of Doom, Nneka, Billionaires Club, Rituals, Tears for Love, Living in Bondage, The Coven, and Blood Money.” He has also appeared in Nollywood productions, such as the Globacom-backed sitcom,” Professor John Bull,” and the award-winning Netflix collaboration, “Lion Heart.”
He is renowned for portraying villains in these projects, particularly in movies that deal with occult rituals. Additional movies include
- Nneka the Pretty Serpent as Emeka (1994)
- Festival of Fire (2002)
- October 1, as Okafor (2014)
- Celebrity Marriage as Mr. Gabriel (2017)
- Actor. Detour (2021)
- Living in Bondage: Breaking Free as Chief Emeka Omego (2019)
- Up North as Chief Otuekong (2018)
- Lionheart as Igwe Pascal (2018)
- High blood pressure (2010)
- Sin No More 1&2 (2008)
- Lost Kingdom
- Circle Of Doom (1993)
- Rituals (1997)
- Fire On The Mountain
- Billionaires Club
- Blood Money
- The Suitors
- Across The Niger
He has also featured in sitcoms like “The Village Headmaster” from 1966-1988, “Okosun” in “Checkmate” from 1991-1994, “Ripples,” “The New Masquerade,” and many others.
Cars and Houses
Kanayo’s garage is home to a good collection of vehicles, including a 2012 Toyota Camry valued at N9.8 million, a 2007 Toyota Camry costing over 4.5 million, a Toyota Land Cruiser estimated to have cost him N30 million, and a Bentley Continental GT that cost around N71 million.
He also has a multimillion-naira property in his hometown of Aboh-Mbaise, Imo State. He is also believed to own several other properties in Lagos and Asaba.
Kanayo O. Kanayo’s journey from a young boy with artistic aspirations to a celebrated actor and philanthropist exemplifies resilience and dedication. His impact on Nollywood and contributions to societal development mark him as a significant figure in the Nigerian entertainment landscape.