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From fisherman to millionaire; Jalango’s journey to the top

Many Kenyan celebrities have struggled to create a name for themselves in the competitive media and entertainment industry. They came from humble backgrounds and through frequent gigs, features, and auditions, their names, hard work, and talents eventually became household names. Jalang’o is not an exception because he started out through the same process.

Popularly known by his stage name Jalang’o, the entertainer’s birth names are Felix Odiwuor and he was born on the 27th of April 1983. As of 2020, he is 37 years old.

He is a Kenyan comedian, radio presenter, MC, and a jack of all trades in the entertainment industry. Jalas is commonly identified by his signature look of a green suit matched with a leopard print shirt. His green suit was a gift from the late Safaricom C.E.O Bob Collymore who felt the Mc would look better in a suit and even went ahead and purchased his first for him.

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Jalango’s signature look.
Jalang’o and Bob Collymore

Jalang’o once disclosed that it was Bob Collymore’s idea and money that financed his green suit and the rest is history. Since he was a close friend to Bob Collymore, the green shade of his suit matched Safaricom’s theme color and he got away with it since he termed the dress code as ”his look” in many corporate gigs and events when questioned.

The cheetah printed shirt was my trade mark until one day Bob walked back stage at the Eldoret CSR activity and asked me why everyone dressed up and had good costumes apart from me, I told him it’s because of my character which he then said dont you think you could look better in a suit? I just laughed but then he asked @56authentique who was dressing us that time to get me a green suit..I liked it and as they say the rest is history!He once said

Growing up

Mzee Jalas did not have it easy as a child while growing up. As much as he boats a thriving career, huge corporate endorsements deals, major events, and doors to business, he lacked the most of his basic needs due to his family’s nature of poverty.

Born and raised in Homabay County, the radio presenter’s primary studies began Homabay Lake primary school and he passed with a score of  427 marks in his final exams and his hard work earned him a letter to join Maseno High School in Kisumu County but they lacked the school fees for admission.

His father organized a Harambee to raise his school fees and a few weeks later they had to trek for over 200 kilometers from his homeland to Maseno school only to be turned back after his golden opportunity of studying there was given to another student. Jalas, also received his first pair of school shoes when joining from one.

Unfortunately, his dreams of joining the prestigious National school was crushed and he joined Bar Kanyango secondary school in Siaya County. His father toiled to pay his fees over the years by supplying the school with beans, maize, and firewood and the comedian once admitted his embarrassment over the business arrangement his father had with the school just to educate him.

After four years of struggle,Jalang’o completed his secondary studies and scored a C+ in his K.C.SE.

Upon inquiring from his father whether he would join university, his father laughed off and said if financing his secondary education was extremely difficult, then going to college was out of the question.

Jalang’o as a fisherman

Disappointed, Jalango earned a small income by the lakeside and worked as a fisherman and fishmonger. At only 23 years old, he fished from Lake Victoria during the wee hours of the night and later sold the fish to women by the shore the next morning.

At 23 years old, I was a fisherman and a fishmonger in Homa Bay town, I used to go to the lake in the middle of the night, cast the net into the lake and in the morning I would sell fish to the women at the shore,” He revealed.

Determined to see his son succeed, the Mc’s father summoned him with a few clothes,800 shillings, and advised him to go to Nairobi and be a man. To prove his capabilities, Jalang’o took a bus from his hometown and traveled the city to seek greener pastures and hopefully bright future.

One day my father woke up, gave me 2 trousers and 2 shirts and 800 shillings and told me to go to college, go be a man. I had to rise up to that occasion and took a bus from Homa Bay and went to Nairobi.

Struggle continues

Life in the big city was not a walk in the park. He was temporarily hosted by his relatives in the posh Lavington estate where worked as a houseboy for some time until he felt he had a greater calling in life and he quit the job and moved into the slums around Embakassi with his other uncle named Ochieng who was willing to support his dreams with the little he had.

At Embakasi he did manual jobs such as kazi ya mjengo’ (construction work) in order to put food in the table and at the same time, he auditioned for different roles at the Kenya National Theatre. Felix was lucky enough to receive financial support from his uncle who was aware of his passion for acting and therefore supported him with money to travel for various auditions.

After a series of trials and errors, he finally got employed at The Kenya National Theater as the second or substitute cast that would fill in for the main actors in the event of an emergency, absenteeism, or illness. When one of the cast members failed to show up, Jalang’o stepped up and worked in main plays, vernacular shows before landing a once in a lifetime opportunity on a local TV show.

Breakthrough

After some time at the Kenya National Theatre, he decided to give a shot in local television shows, Fortunately, this came when Citizen TV began airing drama programs like Papa Shirandula, Mother-in-law and Tahidi High and Jalang’o got a one time opportunity to feature on a single episode of the local drama Papa Shirandula alongside other cast members.

Felix was initially employed for one episode but he stepped up and did his best until he became a permanent fixture and a household name. As a local drama actor, he got paid for doing what he loved and thus earned his stage name Jalang’o from the then-popular show.

He continued being part of the cast for a few more years and began gaining recognition due to his sense of humor that was relatable.

As fate would have had it, popular urban radio station Kiss 100 announced a radio host vacancy after one of their radio hosts, Nyambane, left the station to pursue other opportunities.

Unfortunately, Jalang’o lacked the papers to present to the Radio Africa interview panelists but his confidence prompted him to step forward and he expressed how he is the perfect candidate to host alongside Caroline Mutoko in the Morning Kiss show.

Impressed by his confidence, he was given a chance to go on air and his voice and talent landed him the coveted and prestigious role at the radio station in 2004.

Sadly, the same day he received the appointment letter, he lost his father. It was a sad occurrence for him, but his dad had left him a note asking him to take care of his siblings and build a house for his mother.

At the radio station,Jalang’o easily complimented with  Caroline Mutoko to make the morning show the most tuned in Kenya at the time. The comedian then moved to Radio Maisha where he joined forces with Alex Mwakideu and together they put up the most successful morning talk show on which saw the station move from position 48 to position 1 in less than three years.

Alex Mwakideu and Jalang’o

Later on, he joined Hot 96 and did a morning show with Jeff Koinange in 2017. In 2018, Felix joined Milele FM and reunited with former co-host Alex Mwakideu where he is up to date. Jalang’o is currently the CEO of Arena Media.

Estimated salary and net worth

Jalas with one of his vehicles

Jalang’o bags in an estimated 2-3 million shillings per month and has accumulated a huge vast of wealth and owns a very beautiful mansion in Nairobi and has built another for his mum. He also owns several vehicles that he flaunts on social media.

The Comedian’s Net Worth is approximated at 100 million. Jalas owns a Bentley whose market value is Ksh18 million, a 20 million Range Rover Overfinch, a BMW X6 and a Land Rover Discovery. His collection of cars is estimated at Ksh 50 million. He ranks among the top ten highest-paid comedians in Kenya.

He aspires to get into politics in 2022 as a Member of parliament in Lang’ata constituency.

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Relationships

Jalang’o and Cheptoek Boyo

Before settling down, Jalang’o was in a much-publicized relationship with a lady named Cheptoek Boyo. The couple who sired a daughter by the name Salika parted ways back in 2013.

The two were in the past an iconic couple and had a lovely baby girl but things, however, did not pan out as expected. Despite their separation, Ms. Boyo once revealed that their co-parenting situation is working just fine with his new family.

Cheptoek Boyo
Jalang’o and his daughter salika.

Jalang’o later married his long-time Taita girlfriend, Amina Chao in October 2019 in a private traditional wedding ceremony. Their relationship has always been private and his wife Amina leads a low-key life away from social media. Jalang’o and Amina also have a daughter named Amani. The lovebirds co-parent well with his Ex-girlfriend Cheptoek Boyo.

Jalang’o and Amina Chao
Amina Chao
Jalang’o and his daughters

Scandals and controversies

Despite his fame and lavish lifestyle, the Comedian has been outed twice by blogger Edgar Obare for cheating on his wife Amina with different women. The celebrated comedian was exposed for engaging in ungodly acts with his friends.

Jalang’o and his gang had formed a WhatsApp group named the ‘boys club’ that shared women with the comedian leading the pack. After the Boys Club sexcapades with different women, the group members compared their notes and the screenshots of their conversations were widely shared online. Jalang’o was shamed and criticized for his behavior because he was a married man.

He shared a statement on Instagram explaining what the group was all about and what Obare’s allegations had tarnished his brand and marriages of his friends were broken with false allegations according to him.

The boys club

Achievements and contributions

Jalang’o is the most sought after Mc in Kenya due to his popularity and skills. He also works as a brand ambassador to major companies like Safaricom and Hanan. The Mc has bagged high paying endorsement deals that have boosted his portfolio as an entertainer and comedian in the competitive media industry.

Jalang’o and Obama

The comedian has also emceed events with influential dignitaries, politicians, and leaders like President Uhuru Kenyatta and Barack Obama. Due to his difficult childhood, the father of two always sponsors needy children in their education by paying for their school fees and basic needs among other charitable contributions.

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