From a fisherman to brushing shoulders with Obama, Jalang’o’s inspiring journey to the top
From grass to grace.
An event that he landed after jokingly declaring to his co-host Jeff that he was going to MC at the event. And when guys from the Gina Din PR company saw that clip online they offered him a job as the MC.
The popular radio presenter admitted to being very nervous about MCeeing at the event which also involved him calling Mr Obama on stage to deliver his speech. But there was no need to be nervous as the former president commended the job he had done at the event.
While Jalang’o real name Felix Odiwour is now rubbing shoulders with dignitaries like Obama, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, Raila, Joho and Nana Gecaga, his beginning was very humble.
Jalang’o disclosed that he grew up in a very humble home where he didn’t wear any shoes to school and had his first pair of shoes in form one. Paying school fees was a tall order in his father’s household and his father would pay fees in the form of maize.
After a lot of struggle, Jalang’o managed to sit for his KCSE exam and scored a C+. Unfortunately, he had to become a fisherman since his father could not afford to pay his college fees.
“At 23 years old, I was a fisherman and a fishmonger in Homa Bay town, I used to go to the lake in the middle of the night, cast the net into the lake and in the morning I would sell fish to the women at the shore,” He revealed during an Engage Talk in Kisumu.
Tired of seeing his son wasting away in the village, his father sent him to the city. “One day my father woke up, gave me 2 trousers and 2 shirts and 800 shillings and told me to go to college, go be a man. I had to rise up to that occasion and took a bus from Homa Bay and went to Nairobi.”
Life in Nairobi wasn’t rosy as when he went to his uncle’s house in Lavington he was given the job of being a houseboy. But Jalang’o aspired for more and so he moved to the slum where he lived with his uncle Ochieng’ in a bid to create a different life for himself.
Lucky for him Uncle Ochieng’ was a man who knew that Felix had a passion for acting and supported him by giving him money to go for auditions. After a lot of trials, he landed a job at The Kenya National Theater as part of the second cast that would fill in for the main actors in case of an emergency, absenteeism or illness.
He was later promoted to one of the main actors and participated in a number of vernacular commercial plays before venturing out into TV on Papa Shirandula where he grabbed a role as Jalang’o.
He was initially employed for one episode, but he killed it and he became a permanent fixture in the show. A show that not only earned him cash but also made him a household name. And as they say, the rest is history.
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