I was paid with crisps – MP Jalang’o’s reveals at Ochonjo’s candle-lighting ceremony
Lang’ata MP Phelix Odiwuor, popularly known as Jalang’o, delivered a heartfelt speech during the candle-lighting ceremony held at the Kenya National Theatre in honour of late actor Ochonjo.
Addressing his friends in the industry, Jalang’o took the opportunity to encourage fellow artists to check up on their friends regularly and emphasised the importance of mental health awareness in the entertainment industry.
Paying tribute to one of his mentees, Jalang’o expressed deep sadness and mourned the loss of Ochonjo as if he were a brother and close friend.
He shed light on the hidden struggles some people face, even when they appear healthy and successful on the surface.
“Everyone looked at him and how healthy and tall he was and thought our brother was fine, but a brother is dying,” Jalang’o said solemnly.
The charismatic MP urged artists and people in the industry to reach out to their friends, stressing that a simple phone call or message can make a huge difference in someone’s life.
“Call a friend and see how they are. It doesn’t take that much. Kindly,” he asked the audience.
Jalang’o also announced plans to travel to Nyakach to mourn the loss of his mentee, emphasising the importance of supporting and mentoring each other throughout the journey of artistic growth.
Drawing on his own experience, Jalang’o encouraged budding artists not to lose faith and to persevere in their craft.
“Keep the virtue and keep the faith. Don’t give up on art and one day it will work,” he affirmed.
Turning to up-and-coming talent, Jalang’o highlighted the many opportunities available today, such as YouTube and TikTok, where artists can showcase their skills and gain recognition.
He recalled the early days of his career when he would eagerly wait for payments as small as Ksh 160, including an incident where his director rewarded him with a packet of crisps as praise for a job well done.
“When you come out of the show and the audience drive off in their cars after congratulating you for a good job, not knowing that you don’t have transport to get back home,” Jalang’o recalled, reflecting on the challenges he faced.