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Jalang’o: I owe my stage name, breakthrough to Papa Shirandula

Radio presenter Felix Odiwour has paid tribute to fallen comedian Charles Bukeko aka Papa Shirandula as the one who ‘baptised’ him with the stage name Jalang’o.

Odiwuor confessed that his breakthrough in the comedy industry came after he played the character of Jalang’o in popular Papa Shirandula tv show on Citizen tv.

Bukeko died from Covid-19 complications while seeking treatment at the Karen Hospital on Saturday and was buried at his village home in Busia on Monday.

Until his demise, Bukeko was known for his role as Papa Shirandula and several high profile appearances in advertisements involving various international brands.

It is on the weekly show that he handed Jalang’o and his colleague Kazungu Matano aka Otoyo their breakthrough in the entertainment industry. Their characters in the programme would later become their signature and popular stage names.

“We had been acting Luo plays at the National Theatre for sometime and one day (comedian) Inspecta Mwala calls and asks us to debut on his show, Inspecta Mwala (which also airs on Citizen TV)” Jalang’o explains on his online TV show Bonga na Jalas.’

“I was to audition as a cop on Inspecta Mwala,” Otoyo recalled.

“Then we suddenly receive another call from Papa and he says he has a gig for us but only for one episode. We immediately go for the briefing. On arrival, Papa is there seated, carrying scripts. There is a character for someone who will be named Jalang’o and another one for Otoyo.”

Jalang’o added: “Papa pointed at me randomly and said ‘You will be Jalang’o, he then points at my colleague and says ‘you will be Otoyo’, this are your scripts for tomorrow, familiarise with them. Your role is to welcome your sister (main actor Wilbroda) for her wedding to Papa Shirandula.”

“And just like that. I became Jalang’o for life. I could have as well been Otoyo on the day and for life. Somebody else could have been Jalang’o. Thank you Paps. Thanks for everything. I will miss you so much,” added a teary Jalang’o on the show.

From that historical debut character, Jalang’o has morphed into one of the top radio presenters in the country, a renowned emcee, an actor, content creator and an aspiring politician.