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Barkhad Abdi shot to fame in Captain Phillips

The name Barkhad Abdi might not ring a bell to most people and especially when mentioned in connection with the film world but talk about the ‘pirate leader’ in the movie Captain Phillips and the picture of the man whose face will not easily leave your mind after watching the movie, automatically comes to mind.


Making it to Hollywood is always the ultimate dream for every actor regardless of how small the role might be and Barkhad Abdi got the lucky break because apparently his role in Captain Phillips was his first in the film industry.

Abdi stars as Abduwali Muse, a ship hijacker and pirate leader, alongside Hollywood star Tom Hanks, a role that he brings to reality so well that it’s almost unbelievable to imagine that he has never acted before.

So outstanding is Barkhad’s talent that he has received various film award nominations including the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe Awards and BAFTA for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Abdi scooped the latter and he is now up for an Academy Award.


Barkhad Abdi, who is an American of Somali origin, has been a Jack of all trades as he seems to have had his hands on various sectors before his debut appearance in the film industry. He is reported to have been working as a limousine chauffeur prior to being cast for the role in Captain Phillips and he is also allegedly a DJ in Minnesota.

Abdi is also currently trying his hand in film directing as witnessed in the short film, Ciyaalka Xaafada.

What the Kenya Forum does note is that unlike with actress Lupita Nyong’o there has been virtually no mention of Barkhad Abdi in the East African media despite his screen success.


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