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I am not letting my past hold me back

Saturday September 7 2019

music

Mercy Wanjiru. Her tumultuous journey made her start singing. PHOTO | COURTESY 

EUGINIA GATHONI
By EUGINIA GATHONI
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Mercy Wanjiru, aka Shish Miracle, 27, is an award-winning gospel artiste based in Kerugoya.

But she faced rejection, depression, and ridicule as she rose to pursue her music passion. She narrates how she managed to fulfil her dreams.

"I think of myself as a Minister of the Gospel. I recently launched my second album, Turi Ahotani (We are victors) in May 2018, which was released by Kameme TV. This came after the success of my first song "Kiambiriria Kieru" (New Beginning) that I released in 2013, which got recognition from State House.

I was also able to bag the female artiste of the year trophy in the Kenya Gospel Music Awards in 2018. I am so grateful.

But the thing with achieving success is that many think you got things easily. I did not. I have been through trying moments that made me feel as if I wasn't going to make a career out of my music.

SABOTAGE

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I discovered my gift for singing when I joined high school in 2006 in Kerugoya, Kirinyaga County. I loved worship songs.

Unfortunately, the Deputy Principal was against my singing and she tried all she could to kill my talent.

I would write a song on a paper and the Deputy Principal would tear it up and leave the tatters on my desk. She couldn't even hide her disdain towards me.

Whenever I sang in the Christian Union, she would punish me. She made my stay at the school a living hell.

I was so stressed that I got depressed. The depression would cause seizures that mimicked epileptic attacks.

The teacher declared war on anyone who would assist me whenever I had an attack.

She even threatened to suspend any of my fellow students who would assist me every time I had a seizure (Is she epileptic?).

Luckily, the matron and my chemistry teacher would disregard her commands by coming to my aide.

ACCIDENT

This takes me back to when I had an accident while a child. That accident changed my life completely.

It was in December 1992, and I was around two years old and still living in Kerugoya.

According to my mother, she woke up early to go and vote so that the house girl could get her chance too.

I was crying and the nanny wanted to soothe me. Unfortunately, when she picked me up I slipped off from her hands and landed head first on the floor.

I went into a state of unconsciousness and the house help didn't know what to do.

She alerted some women in the plot who found me lifeless. They rushed me to a nearby hospital.

On her return, mum got the news of my tragedy and rushed to the hospital.

PRAYER

At the hospital, I was still unresponsive. Days later my situation had not improved.

Desperate, my mum said a powerful prayer, "Lord, my daughter cannot die; she has a great future; she will go far to preach the word of God through singing. She cannot die in Jesus name!"

She then waited for the miracle. A few days later, I woke up with a cry. Mum was overjoyed. I healed so fast that I was discharged a few days later.

My mum works at the Ministry of Education and my dad is a retired teacher. I am the second born in a family of three - two brothers and myself.

I went on living a healthy life until when I was in Form Two, when my past came to haunt me.

I was very ill and a check-up at Kenyatta National Hospital revealed I had a crack on the right side of my brain that had been caused by the fall.

SONG-WRITING

The doctor explained that since I was a child, the crack would not have been easily noticed as my body parts were still developing.

I was advised to strictly avoid stress. But because of the victimisation by the head teacher, my dosage had to be increased.

One day I couldn't take it anymore. The seizures had made me alienated. I took a book and went off to the school field and started crying.

I questioned God about all the misfortunes I had gone through. I felt hated by God.

I took a pen and I wrote these words in my book, "God, give me a new beginning; change my life; fill me with your happiness and then reward me with favour and peace."

However, God didn't seem to have heard me. In Form Four I was expelled. "Come and get your daughter, she is shaming and scaring away the other girls whenever she gets seizures," claimed the teacher.

GOD'S IN CONTROL

I was transferred to another school and I completed my education without any qualms.

I also forgave the head teacher, and my mum urged me to let God fight the battle for me. "One day we shall live to see victorious days," professed my mum.

After high school, I went on to do a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication at Consolata Institute of Communication and Technology in 2012. I later worked as a Marketing Executive for Njata TV.

In 2013, I met up again with P Jey Kongo, a gospel musician based in the US, at an event and he remembered me from high school.

BREAKTHROUGH

He promised to help me record my music and that’s how I was able to release my first song. I then recorded and launched my second song last year.

To supplement my income, I run a small business, selling table clothes. I get orders from friends and through referrals.

Though I am still under medication, the doctors say that I will make full recovery, especially since I haven't experienced any attack in a long time.

My future is in making more life-transforming music.

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