From Tout to Remarkable Citizen TV Actor

  • It takes a lot of dedication and perseverance to make it in life. Billionaire Chris Kirubi once stated that those who succeed, are not those who have faced hardships and escaped them, they are those who stay focused and kept pushing forward.

    One renowned actor who can be described by this quote is Patrick Oketch who worked as a tout after high school, before making a breakthrough in acting. who portrays the character Charlie on Citizen TV's drama Mother-in-Law.

    While narrating his life's story in a private event in 2019, to inspire other Kenyans, Oketch recalled how his life shaped up from being a tout and construction labourer to finally landing a lead role in the TV drama. He further detailed his future plans in acting, while speaking with Kenyans.co.ke on Thursday, February 13.

    Peter Oketch who portrays the character Charlie in Mother-in-law

    According to the actor, life wasn't rosy while growing up as he lost his dad when he was ten years old, in 1991, leaving the burden of raising a boys-only family on their single mother.

    Oketch, missed out on joining the university as he cruelly fell short of the cut-off mark for government sponsorship by one point, plunging him into a life of want. 

    "I decided to be a tout, but it was too demanding. Waking up every day to shout, “Tao! Tao! Tao!” was just too much. I later got a job at a mjengo (a construction site)." 

    He would later enroll into a teacher's training college where he went on to graduate with a P1 certification.

    "I enrolled to train as a teacher, though my heart was not in it.  I later became a P1 teacher at Thogoto, before landing a teaching job in Soweto Slums, earning Ksh3,000 per month," he recalled. 

    A few years down the line he ventured into acting, where he earned his first Ksh5,000 after translating the 200-page play into Dholuo, for comedian Felix Odiwour alias Jalang'o. 

    His doors would later open as he landed at Citizen TV to be part of the cast in Tahidi High, a show revolving around the escapades of urban high school students, but was fired after three episodes.

    "I got into Tahidi High and was fired after only three episodes. Then in 2008, Mother-In-Law was just starting and I got a call to play the role of Charlie.

    "The drunkard Charlie is my own creation, it wasn’t in the original script. Currently, I help out with the scripts," Oketch affirmed. 

    The show raised his profile and made him realise his calling spurring him to enrol himself at Kenyatta University's School of Creative Arts and Film Technology in 2013 to follow his dream.

    "I am now a student at Kenyatta University pursuing theatre arts and film. I have been on and off due to a few issues such as job demands and also taking care of my family," Oketch, who tied the knot in December 2015 revealed. 

    For him, the next few years in his life are dedicated to nurturing other talented actors, as he looks forward to changing the acting sphere from simple to integrated comedy.

    "We are working on a few projects, for which we can not disclose right now, but it will be out once we land partners. We are moving from a comedy that's all about making people laugh to subjects that are more learned," the thespian disclosed. 

    Peter Oketch, Charlie, during his wedding in December 2015