In his heydays, Bernard Mwangi commanded a lot of respect when he starred in the TV drama Tahidi High as a teacher by the name Mr Mweposi.
Today, the once well-built celebrity actor is a pale shadow of himself all thanks to alcoholism which has handed him nothing but pain, frustration and a life of squalor.
Mwangi recently spoke to Managemente Synergy where he opened up on his journey with addiction and losing his family.
It was a long battle for him as he worked effortlessly to free himself from the yoke of alcohol addiction; getting back his family is what pushed him to overcome it but it was not easy.
Mwangi has not taken alcohol before in his youthful years and started taking it when he joined Tahidi High. His life took a quick journey to the south and life has never been the same again.
“In all my youth, I never consumed alcohol. I was a very upright person that loved God and even preached his word here and there. Even when I was joining Tahidi High, I was a very clean, but unfortunately, I slipped. It was while I was acting in Tahidi High that I started taking alcohol. But it got worse in 2011 when my family split. Owing to this fact I became depressed and sunk deeper into alcohol,” he recalls.
He implores that though he was a popular cast in the show, he did not earn a lot of money yet he was expected to take care of his family. This frustration drove him deeper into alcoholism.
“Before Tahidi High, I was working with Citizen TV on a contract basis. I had hoped to venture into news reporting and get a permanent position, but that didn’t happen. So when my contract ended, I was left jobless and at the same time needed to provide for my family. I was already known out there as an actor and people expected so much from me, including my family and friends.”
He opined that there is a certain measure in which Kenyan actors are perceived with and it is misleading because they do not earn as much yet a lot is expected from them.
You have a big name out there but no money in your pocket. There are very many talented actors here in Kenya, problem is that the pay. It is very little and untimely. Yes, they make a name for you, but when you really get to understand what actors go through, you’d opt to get employed in a different field where you will be assured of a constant pay,” he lamented.
He added that he does not see himself going back to mainstream media at all as an actor.
Mwangi is the third cast of the former show the Kenyans loved who has come out to speak of his battle with depression and alcoholism.
First, it was Samuel Kinuthia alias Omosh who cried for help from Kenyans saying life, after the show was cancelled, has become difficult. For more than nine months, Omosh said he walked out of his house and strolled around wondering what to do next.
Then, Angel Waruinge alias Miss Morgan came back with her narration of depression and alcoholism which she got into due to the “celebrity pressure” but it ended up ruining her.
Mwangi has appealed to Kenyans of goodwill to help him bolster his chilli farming venture which he plans to be exporting. All he wants is seeds and a little bit of capital to kickstart the agribusiness venture.