Actor Charles Ouda, known for his role in Makutano Junction and work on Pepeta, has died.
He was 38.
Ouda died on the night of February 3, according to his family, who said in a statement seen by KBC that he was “a beloved son, brother and friend.”
“We appeal to all to give his fiancée Ciru, and the Oudas space to grieve this unfathomable loss,” the statement shared by actress Mkamzee Mwatela on behalf of Ouda’s family and fiancee Ciru Muriuki said.
The late actor and former BBC Africa journalist, Ciru, announced their engagement in September 2023.
Charles, who began his career at the Kenya National Theatre had received numerous accolades for his work in film including the title of Best Director at the 2016 Asian American Film Lab 72 Hour Shootout and many more from various independent film festivals.
He was a well-known figure on Kenyan TV screens from his time as the host of educational programme Know Zone, the film First Grader and his role on Maisha Magic’s Salem.
In 2022, Ouda worked as a writer and casting director for the Showmax original series Pepeta and in June 2023, became co-host alongside Muriuki on their podcast documenting their life together.
Reacting to the news of his death, media personalities and celebrities sent messages of condolences, praising his work in the Kenyan film industry.
Multichoice, the parent company of DSTV, Maisha Magic and Showmax called Ouda a “beacon of hope in the film industry.”
Organisers at the Kitale Film Festival, which began over the weekend, honoured Ouda with a minute of silence.
Journalist Samira Sawlani shared love with the family during this difficult time.
“Sending love, strength and courage to friends, family, and fans of Charles Ouda,” she said.
Former editor Wayua Muli said, “Charles Ouda’s death has been surprising and unusually painful even for those of us who didn’t know him personally.
“That’s how impactful of an actor he was.
“Let us all now honour, love and respect him for the beauty he brought to our lives.”
Musician Blinky Bill also shared his grief saying he was “so sad to hear” of his passing.
Diana Ngao, the Director of Communications, County Government of Mombasa also expressed her sorrow.
“It’s unbelievable learning of Charles Ouda’s demise.
“Such a great Kenyan talent to grace our screens. Every role he played touched so many. We’ve lost a great great soul.
“My heartfelt condolences to his family,” she said.
Musician Anto Neosoul remembered Ouda fondly for his kindness.
“My latest TV audition was made possible because of your kindness.
“What a blast we had touring the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark in 2012 doing musical theatre. I’ll savor (sic) the memories.”
Political activist Boniface Mwangi also shared in the country’s collective grief calling his death a big blow.
“Charles Ouda’s death is a big blow to his family, Ciru and the acting fraternity. Ouda shone brightly on and off the stage. May he find rest, and eternal peace in the afterlife,” he said.
At the time of publication, the family had not immediately disclosed the cause of death.