Tahidi High Star OJ Recounts How Bullying Affected His Life

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    Former Tahidi High actor Dennis Mugo (OJ) poses for a photo in January 2020
  • Former Tahidi High actor Dennis Mugo (OJ) recounted how he was bullied in secondary school, an incident that taught him how to handle pain even though it affected his learning and sleeping patterns. 

    In an interview with comedian Felix Omondi (Dr. Kingori) on Friday, November 27, Mugo disclosed that he was forced to sing a lullaby song to a Form Four candidate almost every night at Nakuru High School. 

    OJ opened up on the issue while recalling how he managed to play his cast in the Citizen TV series Tahidi High. In the drama, he portrayed the role of a ghetto boy struggling to fit into a lavish school. He thus bullied his way around the school and confronted several students in the TV drama series. 

    The song OJ sang to his bully in secondary school was derived from the set book Shamba la Wanyama (Animal Farm) written by George Orwell. 

    File image of Abel Mutua (2nd from left) with other members of the old cast of Tahidi High
    File image of Abel Mutua (2nd from left) with other Tahidi High cast members, Shish (centre), Tanya (second right) and OJ

    "When joining high school, I realized that a number of candidates were arrogant. I thus resorted to making friends with one of them who appeared calm and outgoing. My new friend was so keen on passing his KCSE exams. 

    “So he hatched a strategy to ensure he would recall contents of the set book. I used to sing him that song most nights at around 2 a.m. When he would come back from class, I'd sing for hours," he recalled.

    He added that he forgot the incident and moved past it, even met the friend years later and had lunch with him. OJ argued that people usually hold on to such pains for years, affecting their lives and even pushing themselves to revenge. 

    "Find a way to move on and accept it happened. Bullying in high school is not allowed. In fact, bullying is not allowed anywhere in life, at work, at homes. Parents should also find ways to help their children who are bullied in one way or another. You can find therapy for yourself or for your children. 

    "As a parent, you can also reach out to the school or the parents of the other children and solve the issue," he advised. 

    In July 2019, an expose of bullying incidences at Nairobi School sparked fury countrywide. A 15-year-old student was reported to have been battered by prefects at the school to a point where he was unable to talk, recognize others and relieve himself. 

    Therapists categories bullying into four categories; physical, verbal, social and cyberbullying. Physical involves assaults, verbal involves insults, social is about reducing a victim's standing through rumours and lies and cyber entails using the internet to attack an individual. 

    They advise individuals to undergo counseling, therapy and social skills training. One can also report such incidences to the relevant authorities. 

    In 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law the Computer and Cybercrimes Bill. Under the law, individuals publishing false, misleading or fictitious data shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding Ksh 5 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both.

    A file image of a woman using a phone.
    A file image of a lady using a phone
    Simon Kiragu