Charlie ‘Mother In Law’: From a ‘Makanga’ Shouting ‘Tao Tao’, To A PP1 Teacher,His Life And Career Journey

Patrick Oketch, widely known by his stage name Charlie, stands as a celebrated actor who played a pivotal role in the enduring Kenyan television drama series, Mother-in-law. Regarded as one of the program’s trailblazers, Charlie’s tenure in the show spans over a decade. Within the series, his character is depicted as a headstrong individual with a penchant for alcohol, hailing from a prosperous family, and surrounded by a life replete with dramatic events. His on-screen partner was Catherine Kamau, and together, they portrayed the parents of a character named Olive, played by Ida Wanyoike.

Charlie, born in 1984 in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s slums, experienced a significant shift in his family’s residence to Madiwa, Eastleigh, in 1987. Raised among five brothers, he faced the loss of his father at the tender age of seven. With his single mother struggling to make ends meet, the family often grappled with the challenge of going without meals.

Post high school, Charlie’s aspirations for a university education were dashed by a mere one-point shortfall. Initially working as a tout, he found the job too demanding and transitioned to become a construction worker. Subsequently, his aunt sponsored his enrollment at a teachers training college, where he earned a role as a P1 teacher at Thogoto, earning a modest Ksh3,000 monthly. Despite his teaching role, he envisioned a different career path and later pursued a degree in film and theatre arts at Kenyatta University.

Charlie embarked on his professional journey as a writer, a passion that blossomed during his high school years. In those days, he earned money by writing letters to his peers’ girlfriends for Ksh20. His encounter with comedian Jalang’o at the Kenya National Theatre marked a turning point, as he was entrusted with translating a script into Dholuo. Demonstrating his prowess, Charlie completed the task within two days, earning Ksh5,000 for his efforts. Subsequently, he delved into auditions for commercials and films, contributing to projects like Tahidi High before securing a breakthrough role on Mother-in-law, where he not only acted but also lent his skills to scriptwriting.

Beyond Mother-in-law, Charlie showcased his talent in other films such as The Captain of Nakara, Sticking Ribbons, Intellectual Scum, and Kaze ni Tatsu Lion. He also served as a script editor for MaEmpress on Maisha Magic East.

In his personal life, Charlie exchanged vows with Judith Ogaya in a green and white-themed wedding ceremony five years ago. Together, they are blessed with a son and a daughter. Recently, Charlie faced a challenge when his Facebook account was hacked, urging Kenyans to report the hackers who had gone live on his account.