By Prudence Minayo
The popular Mother-in-Law family drama that was aired on Citizen TV brought the very best of Mzee Mwamba, who played the role of the family patriarch. In one of the longest TV shows in Kenya, the actor was always level headed when handling complex issues in his family mostly instigated by his on-screen wife Charity Mwamba-who was the mother in law.
Here is the interesting story of Mzee Mwamba as told by WoK.
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His real name is Peter Muriithi Maina.
The actor was a pupil at Morrison School in Bahati area, Nairobi. He was to join Dagoretti High School for his secondary education.
The actor was born in Ziwani, Nairobi 68 years ago (as of 2022).
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He is married to Alice Wachuka. According to Tuko, the award winning actor is a father of several girls aged between 41 and 30.
He started acting while in class Four way back in 1964. He would go on to complete his studies and take acting seriously in the 80s. He performed in a number of theatre plays including Mama Benga, Naomi and Pambazuka.
His greatest inspiration was the late Mzee Ojwang whom he admired and emulated. At one time, he was among a group of actors who curtain- raised for Mzee Ojwang before he took to stage with his colleagues.
His big break came when he got the chance to act in the popular Mother-in-law family drama back in 2008. He became a household name and won the hearts of fans with his brilliance in acting. His natural talent has seen him get nominated twice (2009 and 2010) in the Kalasha Awards, Best Actor Category.
According to Mwamba, acting is just like any other profession that should be taken seriously. In the course of his career, he says the biggest challenge is when people fail to differentiate between him as a person and the character he plays on Mother-in-law.
“The biggest challenge is that most fans fail to differentiate the real person from the actor. Society always expects you to live to the standards reflected in the play and fails to understand there exists a difference between work and life. They expect you to live a posh life just like in the play,” he said during a past session with pupils from St. Elizabeth Academy in Karen.
Apart from acting, Mzee Mwamba has a business of making aluminum doors, windows and building aquariums.
Only A Name
But that seems not to be the only problem. In an interview on Kamuhunjia YouTube channel, Mzee Mwamba decried the lack of policies guiding how much an actor should be paid. He went on to say that their salaries are not constant and they lack payslips hence cannot even secure bank loans. The actor also pointed out that actors are not given contracts like in other countries.
“Sisi ni jina tuko nayo, ukipita mahali kila mtu anakujua’, he told Kamuhunjia.