Steven Kanumba

Steven Kanumba
Steven Kanumba.jpg
Born (1984-01-08)8 January 1984
Died 7 April 2012(2012-04-07) (aged 28)[1]
Cause of death Brain concussion
Nationality Tanzanian
Occupation Actor, singer, writer, director, producer, comedian
Title Steven Kanumba

Steven Charles Kanumba (8 January 1984 – 7 April 2012) was a Tanzanian actor and director. Kanumba died in 2012 at the age of 28, for which actress Elizabeth Michael was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced two years in prison in November 2017.[2][3] Over 30,000 people were estimated to have attended his funeral.[4] He was described as "Tanzania's most popular film star",[4] and appeared in Nollywood films.

Early life

Kanumba was born into a Sukuma family in the Shinyanga Region in Northern Tanzania.[5] His father was Charles Kanumba and his mother was Flora Mutegoa.[1] Kanumba had three older sisters. He began his studies at Bugoyi Primary School and continued with his secondary studies at Mwadui Secondary School, later transferring to Vosa Mission Secondary School. He joined Jitegemee High School for his high level education. He spoke three languages fluently: Swahili, Sukuma and English.


Kanumba began acting in the 1990s in church productions. In 2002, he joined the theater group Kaole Arts Group. He appeared in the television soap operas Jahazi and Dira and made his film debut in Haviliki. In 2006 he met Nazz who gave him advice and further connections for his career. He appeared in Dar 2 Lagos, a film by Mtitu Game that used both Tanzanian and Nigerian actors and crew.[6] He also appeared in the films She is My Sister, This Is It, and Love Gamble. In 2009, he was a special celebrity guest on Big Brother Africa 4.

In 2011, Kanumba was named an Oxfam GROW Ambassador.[7] Shortly before his death he had been preparing for his first Hollywood film role,[1] although he was already "Tanzania's most popular film star"[4] and appeared in Nollywood films.


Kanumba died after he fell in his bedroom on April 7, 2012, apparently from a head injury after falling and hitting his head on the wall.[8] Elizabeth "Lulu" Michael,17-year-old girlfriend at that time, was charged with manslaughter in connection with the death. Kanumba was taken unconscious to Muhimbili National Referral Hospital where he was declared dead.[4] Michael was arrested and stayed in remand for almost a year for investigation. Later, the charges were amended to involuntary manslaughter.

In January 2013 Michael was granted bail. In October 2017, Michael claimed that she pushed him in self defense, and she testified to the High Court of Tanzania that after Kanumba confronted her, he took her to his room by force and starting beating her with a sword while he was intoxicated.[9] In 2017, Lulu was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for his death and sentenced to two years in prison.[10] Her sentence was then changed from two years imprisonment to community services and she was released from jail on May 12, 2018 after serving at least a year in jail.[11]

His funeral was attended by around 30,000 people including the first lady of Tanzania, Salma Kikwete,[12] Vice President Dr. Mohamed Gharib Bilal, and the minister for culture and sport, Emmanuel Nchimbi.[13] Kanumba was buried in Kinondoni Cemetery.[1]



  • Jahazi
  • Dira
  • Zizimo
  • Tufani
  • Sayari
  • Taswira
  • Gharika
  • Baragumu


Year Title Notes
Riziki with Blandina Chagula
Sikitiko Langu with Nuru Nassoro, Vincent Kigosi and Mahsein Awadh
Dangerous Desire with Vincent Kigosi,Nuru Nasoro and Blandina Chagula
She is My Sister with Mercy Johnson, Nkiru Sylvanus and Yvonne Cherrie
Penina with Mahsein Awadh, Emmanuel Myamba
Cross My Sin with Mercy Johnson, Suzan Lewis
2007 A Point Of No Return with Wema Sepetu, Mahsein Awadh
2008 The Lost Twins with Lucky Peter, Elizabeth Michael, Suzan Lewis
The Stolen Will with Eizabeth Chijumba, Immaculate Aloyce
Village Pastor with Aunt Ezekiel
Magic House with Nargis Mohamed, Issa mussa
Oprah with Irene Uwoya and Vincent Kigosi
Red Valentine with Wema Sepetu, Jacquline Wolper
*Family Tears with Elizabeth Michael, Wema Sepetu and Richard Bezednhout
The Movie's Director with Mercy Johnson, Nkiru Sylvanus, Elizabeth Chijumba, Olufemi ogdegbe
2009 Fake Smile with Aunt Ezekiel, Yobnesh Yusuph
Unfortunate Love with Lisa Jensen, Aunt Ezekiel, Elizabeth Michael
Hero Of The Church with Princess Sheila, Issa Musa, Juma kilowoko
Saturday Morning with Shamsa Ford, Hemed Suleiman, Issa Musa
Crazy Love with Shamsa Ford, Hemed Suleiman, Issa Musa, Elizabeth Michael
2006 Johari[6] with Blandina Chagula and Vincent Kigosi)
2006 Dar 2 Lagos[6] with Mercy Johnson, Nancy Okeke, Bimbo Akintola
2010 More Than Pain with Lisa Jensen and Rose Ndauka
2010 Young Billionare with Aunty Ezekiel and Patcho Mwamba
2010 "Ripple of tears" with Elizabeth Michael
2010 Uncle JJ with Khanifa Daudi (Jennifer), Patrick, Mayasa Mrisho and Patcho Mwamba
2010 This Is It with Khanifa Daudi (Jennifer), Patrick, Mayasa Mrisho and Patcho Mwamba
2010 Off Side with Irene Uwoya, Vincent Kigosi and Jacob Steven)
2010 Payback with Yvonne Cherryl, Yusuph Mlela)
2010 Black Sunday with Yvonne Cherryl, Yusuph Mlela, Hemed Suleiman)
2010 Young Billionare with Aunty Ezekiel and Patcho Mwamba
2011 Saturday Morning with Irene Paul and Ben Franko
2011 Deception with Rose Ndauka, Patcho Mwamba, Bakari Makuka
2011 Devil Kingdom with Ramsey Noah, Kajala Masanja)
2011 The Shock with Shazy Sadry
2011 Moses With Suzan Lewis, Shazy Sadri, Ndumbangwe Misayo
2012 Big Daddy
2012 Because of You with Rose Ndauka and Grace Mapunda
2012 Ndoa Yangu with Jacquline Wolper and Patcho Mwamba
2013 Love & Power with Irene Paul and Patcho Mwamba; Kanumba's final movie

Awards and nominations

Year Event Prize Recipient Result
2008 Vinara Movie Awards Lifetime Achievement Award Steven Kanumba Won
2010 Mini-Ziff Awards Best Movie This Is It Won
Filamu Central Website Awards (Best of 2010) Best Actor Steven Kanumba Won
Best Producer Won
2010 SFC Awards Best Actor Steven Kanumba Won
2011 Zanzibar International Film Festival Best Actor Devil Kingdom Won
Best Movie In Sound Won
2012 Baab Kubwa Magazine Awards Best Actor Steven Kanumba Won
2013 Steps Entertainments Awards Best Selling Movie Ndoa Yangu Won
Best Movie Of The Year Kijiji Cha Tambua Haki Won
Posthumous Award Steven Kanumba Won
2014 Tanzania People's Choice Awards (Tuzo za watu) Favourite Movie Ndoa Yangu Won
2015 Tanzania Film Awards Tribute Personality Award Steven Kanumba Won
Proin Promotions Awards Best Actor Steven Kanumba Won


  1. ^ a b c d Songa wa Songa (9 April 2012). "Fresh revelations in Kanumba death probe". The Citizen Daily. Retrieved 10 April 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Tanzanian movie star jailed for death of famous lover". News24. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Lulu slapped with two-year jail term for killing Kanumba". Retrieved 17 August 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b c d "Kanumba funeral: Thousands mourn Tanzanian actor". BBC. Retrieved 10 April 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Biography". Retrieved 10 April 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b c Saur, Mahir; et al. (2010). Viewing African Cinema in the Twenty-First Century: Art Films and the Nollywood Video Revolution. Ohio University Press. p. 86.
  7. ^ "Steven Kanumba on Oxfam's GROW campaign in Tanzania". Oxfam East Africa. 5 June 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Fresh revelations in Kanumba death probe - News". The Citizen. Retrieved 17 August 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "State lines up 9 witnesses in Lulu manslaughter case". The Citizen. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  10. ^ Jared, Too. "Tanzania actress Lulu Elizabeth slapped with two year jail term for killing bongo star Steven Kanumba". Standard Digital News. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  11. ^ VIDEO-Lulu aachiwa ‘huru’ Dar, retrieved 12 February 2020
  12. ^ "Farewell Kanumba The Great: Photos from the escort and final mass at Leaders Club". Bongo 5. Retrieved 10 April 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Kanumba laid to rest, Mohammed Ugasa, 11 April 2012

External links