Ailing veteran TV actor thanks Uhuru, Kenyans for over Sh6m donations

Actor Gibson Gathu. [File, Standard]

Popular Vioja Mahakamani actor Gibson Gathu has thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for donating Sh2 million for his kidney transplant.

Mr Gathu, who acts as a prosecutor, said the Head of State sent the money during a fundraiser at the Charter Hall, Nairobi, last weekend.

“I cannot thank the President enough. His contribution of Sh2 million went a long way in helping us surpass our Sh6 million target. I am so grateful to him for the support. Several top government officials also sent their contributions and the love has been overwhelming,” he said.

The veteran actor, who is battling diabetes and kidney complications, is set to undergo a kidney transplant at the Mediheal Hospital next month.

He has been attending three dialysis sessions per week, each costing Sh9,500.

“It has not been easy, but we have received overwhelming support from Kenyans, both locally and in the diaspora," he said.

“I often get calls and text messages from people I have never met. They keep encouraging me… they ask how far I am with my treatment plan.”

Asked about his plans after the surgery, Mr Gathu said he will go back to acting since it is what puts food on the table.

He also intends to continue mentoring young and upcoming thespians.

Gibson Gathu (right) in action during a past national event. [File, Standard]

“I will definitely go back to acting. This is something I have done for almost three decades. I also take pride in mentoring the young because they are the future stars. Kenya needs to hone talent, and it is important to have a national art policy that will ensure tracking from a young age as well as integrating arts into our nation’s domestic and foreign policy objectives,” he said.

The actor cited Tanzania's Baraza la Sanaa la Taifa, saying the country has several agencies that focus on developing the arts.

“The government should take the lead by tapping and supporting talent. There are many employment opportunities. Investing in the arts will go a long way in solving our problems,” he said.

Mr Gathu's advice to TikTok stars and other internet sensations is to save and invest.

The actor advised young social media entertainers not to mix work and pleasure as the fame is often short-lived.

“The entertainment industry is dynamic and unlike in our time, there is more money nowadays. You might be tempted to move to an upmarket estate after landing your first gig.

“Eat some but save some. We were taught that if you cannot manage Sh5, then it will be difficult to manage Sh5 million.”

Mr Gathu is one of the most popular faces in the iconic Vioja Mahakamani, a comedy series that has been on the screens for more than 25 years.

Other colleagues in the show include Hiram Muigai (Ondiek Nyuka Kwota), Peter Sankale (Olexander Josephat), Mathias Keya (Alfonse Makacha Makokha) and Lucy Wangui (judge).