Before he became a household name, long before he trended number one on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and your buddy-buddy WhatsApp group, and even before he popularised ‘Nga’- a broken Swahili/Congolese patois – Terence Creative was still actively doing the most.
Terence, born Lawrence Macharia, dabbled in so much; from a TV stint at a local channel where he played the character ‘Kamami’ in a show which has since been scrapped, to a rib-cracking nagging landlord character on Instagram that was wildly hilarious.
But, forget all that.
Because its with his 2021 three-piece in which he hilariously played Papa Fred, a Congolese fraudster, waddling through fraud – popular in online lingo as ‘wash wash’ – that he really struck gold. No pun in intended.
A section of conservative Kenyans online have debated that his three-part videos were merely white wash for local celebrities who have been linked to the ‘wash wash’ game, to bathe in as they trivialised the several exposes online, that preceded his videos.
While others, who are a little, do we say, open-minded, have argued that as a comedian, he was spot on. Bull’s eye.
Whatever creed you support, ‘Azimio’ or ‘bottom-up’, everyone agrees that in the age of clout-chasing comedians, Papa Fred Ngamwaya has been a breath of fresh air.
But his story does not begin at the top, because no good stories do. His story begins in the Mlango Kubwa slum barbia of Mathare.
The comedian, born in a family of three, lost his parents at the age of 9, and was out in the streets shortly after, living off the bins and hammering himself to a stupor sniffing glue.
He would later be rescued, and taken to a children’s home alongside his brother. It is here that he discovered his love for the theatre, and the talent he possessed.
Terence’s life roller coaster never really took a break, and his star took eons to finally shine through. He worked menial jobs for sustenance, including a stint as a security guard and a gardener.
And because all nights dawn, he found his way to the National Theatre and participated in High School set book acting before finally landing a gig at the Churchill Show, writing jokes for the biggest names in Kenyan comedy.
It is at the Churchill Show that he met his wife, Milly Chebby, dust after dusting his shoes off a 6-year relationship.
He would also find himself in a radio job, alongside Massawe Japani circa 2018, before finding success in his online character ‘Kamami’ in which his wore his wife’s dera.
He would later whip up another character, this time, a flat caretaker, a role he claims was inspired by a true life experience.
Last year, the comedian and his wife were unveiled as the hosts of a show on local channel called ‘Thursday Night Live,’ which focused on telling inspirational stories.
And his story really, is a perfect Phoenix story. He literally rose from ashes, after having severely head-butted, and broken the two legs of his public image in a cheating scandal some two years ago.
No one was too sure where he would end up.
But just like the many characters he displays online, the comedian fished yet another one from his collective, and slowly worked his way up to Kenyan living rooms, where he served the hearty ‘wash wash’ three-piece.
A cat by all means, the comedian has lived his many lives, battling his demons while still keeping his online characters alive.
He has opened up to having been addicted to gambling and smoking, and at some point, would while his nights away in Nairobi casinos, betting away the entire sum he had saved for his first car and land as well as their house rent.
His wife, who has stayed resolute in his corner since their first meet up in 2013, would fish him from casinos and drag him home. All the while hoping for the best.
If he wasn’t losing their house rent in the next gamble, the comedian would be off again, this time, to pawn off personal items including his phone to loan sharks.
But like his namesake Terrence Howard, Terence Creative’s story is a true testimony that anyone can turn their life around, because life is generous to those who seek second chances.
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