Pain is temporary but winning is forever, is a motto Wangeci Waweru the Rapper undertook and has worked with to win battles this far in her life. The 21- year old renowned rapper was involved in a horrible road accident last year that took her best friend’s life, and despite being in the Intensive Care Unit for a month, her health is now restored. Learning how to walk again is by far one of her greatest achievements, and despite all odds the talented rapper believes there is no battle to hard for her to overcome.
What is your Background?
I am the last born in a family of 2 children.
I attended Makini School for my primary school education, after which I proceeded to Precious Girls Riruta where I attained a mean grade of A- in the K.C.S.E. national examinations. On completion, I joined Strathmore University to study Financial Economics under the School of Finance and Applied Economics (SFAE). I am currently in my final semester, and looking forward to finishing school.
How did the horrible accident happen?
The accident happened on 14th July, 2014, all I remember is one minute we were driving around with my best friend and the next minute am waking up on a hospital bed in pain.
I had several injuries; my left arm was broken, the safety belt cut my inner intestines, my lungs were also pierced. I had internal bleeding and a puncture to the head.
How was the recovery process?
The puncture to my head gave me a memory loss; I would live a day and forget everything the next day. But with time I started recognizing things around me and I soon felt I needed to leave the hospital immediately. I developed a fight spirit which caused me to want to be self-dependent and avoid being dependent on everyone around me. I also heavily desired to walk again which meant that I would push myself a lot during physiotherapy.
I had great support from family and friends; my friends from Strathmore would always visit and inform me of everything that was going on in school.
The combination of the support from family and friends and the fighting spirit enabled me go through the recovery process successfully.
How did you deal with losing your friend Tiona?
In hospital I knew nothing about her death because no one talked about it, I suppose to ensure I did not give up on life. I however felt offended that Tiona did not come to visit me in hospital. A month later when I got home from the hospital, my mum broke the news about her death and the news really shuttered me. However, I think I haven’t fully dealt with it till now, but I am slowly finding my peace with it. I like replaying the memories that we had because it makes the healing process much easier.
What emotions do you have when you look at your scars?
(Wangeci has a scar on her left arm) I call this scar my bangle because it looks like one. But generally I look at all my scars as battle scars; they remind me of a difficult period in my life that I overcame. They also act as a sense of encouragement whenever I go through other hurdles, I know I can overcome despite the challenges I encounter.
What impact did the accident have on your life?
I am now certain that I am going to do music. The love I received after the accident from my fans made me realize how much of an impact my music had.
My academic performance also changed because during the 3months of recovery I performed the best.
How has Strathmore experience been like?
I have had a great experience especially with the friends I have made at the university, not only students but also the faculty. I made faculty friends during my recovery period; these friends fought for me to resume school from where I left off allowing me to complete my semester, as my classmates were undertaking their internship. I would have otherwise had to repeat the whole semester. I had to come to school in crutches when I resumed, and I got a lot of support from students and staff that made me feel fortunate to be a part of such a family.
When did you start rapping and how did you break into the market?
I started rapping at the age of 10 when my mother bought me the Necessary Noise CD on my birthday which I listened to and started cramming like the musician Nazizi. I liked the way she rapped and I decided that I would either become better than her or live up to her legacy.
My first song into the market was a cover of 2pac for ‘Do for love’ and it was on sound cloud. When my producer and I uploaded it on sound cloud, the feedback was beyond what we expected. After that I did the ‘Ligi Soo’ remix, a huge song which had 5 girls and 5 men, whereby the girls outdid the men. I was among the girls, and one of the most recognized in the group. This widely opened doors for me into the industry. So far I have about 100 songs, with 8 officially released.
What do you rap about?
I rap about life in general, and things I go through. I am very inspired by my life and therefore I have much to write about myself. There are so many stories to tell through music. A good example is the first song I wrote after being discharged from the hospital, ‘Cardiac Arrest’, about the accident. The song is doing very well and it is currently number 8 on MTV BASE Chart.
What challenges do you face in the music industry?
I don’t make commercial music like the one played in clubs or overplayed in radio stations but I make my own alternative music, which is for a selected audience. My challenge right now is trying to move from the music I make into the common music while still maintaining my initial fan base.
Who is your role model?
My mother became my role model after the accident. While I was at the hospital, everyone else was crying after they saw the injuries I had, but my mother remained calm. She said that she could not do anything about it and God was in control. My mother is a strong woman who believes in God and that is something I want to emulate.
Where do you draw your motivation from?
My life itself is a motivation and other people’s lives. For example, if my friend goes through a break up I can use her emotions to explain her break up like I’m the one going through the pain.
I also draw motivation from music by other artistes as I can listen to a very good song and get inspired to do a better one.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
I plan to engage in entertainment related activities in the next 10 years. I also want to grow in my music career. This is driven by the fact that in Africa, during the MTV BASE awards, the hip hop category is usually dominated by men. I therefore want to ensure that not only me but a number of females will join the category in the offing by breaking the trend.
What are your greatest achievements?
I was featured on CNN Inside Africa by Zain Verjee last month for upcoming talent in Africa. Taking part in Coke Studio and the Peace One Day initiative this year was also an achievement for me. I was surrounded by great talents like Ne-Yo and renown musicians from Africa like Ice Prince, so I had an obligation to meet the high expectations, being in the presence of such big talent. It was a success as my performance was eventually the most memorable which impressed people that I look up to.
What would you advise young aspiring students with burning dreams…
The passion within you is what overpowers everything, so push yourself into a position where you can achieve what you want. Always keep going and make it your habit to do what you love. Work at everything with excellence because that will get you where you want to be. Also ensure that you do not let anybody tell you that you cannot make it, you know yourself.