SPOTLIGHT ON MUTHONI GATHECHA,KONA'S MATRIARCHAL FIGURE AYIRA OYANGE
52 year young charming and with a great personality, Muthoni Gathecha, must be one of those 5th wonders of the Kenya’s acting industry. In an age bracket where many fizzle out into other professions or are looking forward to their retirement years, she is clutching into a career that many are called but few are chosen…ACTING!
Muthoni has been spotted on KONA, a 250 episode Mnet series currently airing on Africa Magic Entertainment where she takes up the role of Ayira Oyange, the matriarchal figure in the series. That marked her debut into the acting industry, a role which she says she auditioned for, like any other actor starting out.
She has also been spotted in several movies under the Africa Magic Original Films franchise (AMOF) and they include: Shortlist where she played Mrs Ukwaju, a complacent wife who is struggling to keep her family together under the iron rule of her husband: Close knit group and she played Mama Wendy, a busy body wealthy widow who is the life of the neighborhood: Get me a job where she played Mrs Komeni,a malicious conniving selfish and self-serving cougar who thinks the world revolves around her: The Black Wedding and she played Aunty, a deranged desolate totally disconnected woman who is not in touch with reality and this was the most challenging role she has ever been cast for. The make up was out of this world, the costume was interesting and getting into character was difficult and she found herself taking her character home with her. The Next Dean where she played Dr Kabiru,a Vice Chancellor in a university who has to deal with the social and political goings on a campus setting: I do and she played Victoria, a possessive mother of an only child who would move heaven and earth to get what she thinks is best for her family.
Many casting directors in Kenya will tell you how hard it is to cast for roles that require people over 40. For one reason or the other, actors get to their late 30’s and are no longer heard of with only a handful to choose from opposed to the younger age brackets. So for an inspiration like Muthoni who started acting at the age of 50 that is definitely something to write home about.
She says her life called for a change in the routine she had grown into for the past 25 years of her life. She had just completed a self renewal program and she wanted a platform to reach a larger audience.
Born 8th April 1962, Muthoni in her own words describes herself as: “I AM A WOMAN! I am a teacher by training and choice at Kenyatta University. I am an education administrator through experience and training. I am a Psychologist by training from the United State International University (USIU). I am a Female Actor and it’s a choice I made when I turned 50! I believe that I have always been an actor it’s just that the circumstances have been different with no camera and lights around me until the opportunity presented itself. As an instructor, students are my audience; my lesson notes are my scripts; my teaching aids are my props; Lecture time is my call time; the lecture hour is my scene etc so I suppose I have been an actor for quite a while.”
Muthoni is blessed with three adults, two boys and a girl, whom she draws inspiration from other than God that is. “My children do define who I am but what I have become because of the spice additional flavor they bring to my life.” She retorts
The children include renown rap artist and musician Gaza who famously goes by his stage name as Mchizi Gaza who is her 1st born. Her second child Rowzah is a fashion designer and the last born Mizen is still in school studying business. An artsy family with a touch of business or how else would you describe that combination?
Muthoni, despite her jovial nature, takes everything she does seriously. Her teaching, administrative and psychotherapist background is a plus to the actor she is. She views acting as a profession like any other. She enjoys it but also admits that it is not easy and is a big challenge to her. She does research about the industry and her characters. She understands that she needs to work with people towards a common goal and that is what brings home the bacon as she knows that the film industry is a people driven industry.
“It’s sad that mature folk or people in my age bracket shy away from the acting industry but I have found it lucrative, very involving and fulfilling. It is a JOB not a HOBBY! Like any other job or business one starts, it will be challenging but challenges make accomplishment more fulfilling, so I take every hurdle with precision. Sometimes I overcome it and sometimes I fall but it’s all worth the pain and bruises in the end” she says.
A public speaker and MC as well, Muthoni feels that the attitudes of people need to change in this our film industry if we are to compete with the rest of the world. ” All stakeholders need to take this industry seriously. Remuneration should be commensurate to work. The actor doesn’t operate on a nine to five schedule. Let’s take pride in who and what we are: Our culture our heritage and talent. Rome wasn’t built in one day though but we will get there with a collective and concerted effort!” She remarks.
We are definitely going to see more of Muthoni as some stars were just born to shine. Her success in life may be summed up in these life lessons that she abides by “Belief in self is so crucial in success. Gratitude is a driving force that powers my life. You will be amazed at how a simple phrase like THANK YOU is MAGICAL!”
And thank you I shall say and pass my gratitude to Muthoni for being open enough to make this article possible.
Get updates from Muthoni through her Facebook page here.
Written by Gerald Langiri
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