By Faith Nyambeki
He is a natural. Actor cum MC Joseph Kinuthia, popularly known as Omosh, was one of the most talked about characters in the popular sitcom Tahidi High. The actor’s meteoric rise to fame masked his inner demons. His struggles with alcoholism derailed his career before he took a bold step to straighten his life. Here is a short biography of Omosh.
Away from his character that depicts him as a man of minimal education who thrives on cutting deals with students, Joseph is well educated and he admits as much. He was a bright student and after his O-levels he joined college to study accounts after his father impressed on him the need of an education.
Before joining Tahidi High
Television was the last thing on his mind. The funnyman started out as a truck driver. In an interview on Dr. Kingori’s Wicked Edition, the actor narrated how he ferried goods on his lorry while high. He would make stops in various towns on his way to his destination for a quick drink before proceeding. Alcohol had been part of his life before he even joined Tahidi High. The seasoned actor told YouTuber Monicah Kagoni of his hustle before joining Tahidi.
‘I HAD A YOUNG FAMILY AND I HAD TO DO ALL MANNER OF JOBS.
DURING THAT PERIOD I ALSO LEARNT DRIVING AND I BECAME A PICK UP DRIVER. THE CAR I DROVE WAS USED FOR GARBAGE COLLECTION.
I HAVE REALLY COME FROM FAR’, Omosh told Kagoni.
Omosh becomes part of Tahidi High Cast
His sister, a renowned Kenyan producer, actress and scriptwriter Naomi Kamau, saw the talent his younger brother possessed and how he would make an interesting character on TV. Kamau is the producer of Tahidi High. She convinced Omosh to join the cast. The actor said of his elder sister:
“Naomi always told me I had something special as an actor as she had watched me since childhood…I became ‘Omosh,’ a smart-aleck, know-it-all watchman and with my years working in the garbage dumps in the slums of Nairobi, I could not have been better suited for this part.”
Family of actors
Mr Kinuthia comes from a family of entertainers. The creative juice runs in their veins. His sister has played various roles on popular TV programmes “Mother in law” and “Shamba Shape-Up”. The late Beth Nyambura Mbaya, aka Wanade, was his sister. She is better remembered for her roles in long running television series Mother in Law and Know Zone. Kamau Mbaya, or Baha, is Omosh’s nephew and son to the late Beth. Joseph’s wife plays Mrs. Ngatia in Tahidi High.
It took over 20 years for Omosh to seek help over his alcohol dependency. The actor had more than one close calls, with a section of bloggers claiming that he had passed on at some point. The ex-Tahidi High actor who played a know it all watchman, admitted that his drinking got out of control and he would come on set late and obviously high. He admits that he could drink upto 10 beers and not get drunk. His habit cost him all his friends. He told Mount Kenya Star of his past:
“As an actor in Tahidi High, I used to drink 10 beers on a daily basis without feeling any effect. Being a public figure I would often frequent parties, functions or clubs upon invitation by friends or various organizations who offered free drinks..”
The actor almost lost his family courtesy to his love for the bottle. Omosh started experimenting with alcohol while he was a teenager due to peer pressure:
“Despite my passion for acting while still a teenager in Nyeri County, I was already experimenting with alcohol due to peer pressure and the fact that I grew up in a society where many people including my relatives consumed various substances including alcohol. This made me want to try out those.”
He downgraded to the cheaper hard liquor that went for kshs500. Omosh would imbibe daily with or without money. This saw him get into debts.
“Before I knew it I became a frequent visitor at various wines and spirits outlets where I would source for cheap hard liquor in the name of (Mzinga) at the cost of Sh500 daily with or without money,” Omosh told the same publication.
Admitted To Rehab
Omosh knew he needed help. He shared with his sister his struggles who advised him to check himself at a rehabilitation centre. His three months stay at the rehab allowed him to think of “life, my family, my future, health and realized the need to change.”
Nearly Destroyed His Marriage
The polygamist is married to Judy, who plays the role of Mrs Ngatia on Tahidi High, and his second wife is known as Shanty Mumbi. He has two daughters with his first wife and one son with Mumbi.
Omosh the motivation speaker
The actor is now a motivational speaker.