Every human being is born under different circumstances, and often, we use our background and circumstances as an excuse. My hope is that today’s story about Winfred Wanjiku will take you out of your comfort zone.
Robert M. Hensel once said, “Know me for my abilities, not my disability.” Today we are focusing on Winfred’s journey with cerebral palsy and how, as a DJ, she uses her feet to control the deck.
Winfred was born with cerebral palsy, a group of permanent disorders that affects a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. In Winfred’s case, her arm movement was affected.
“My name is Winfred Wanjiku Muchiri AKA DJ Wiwa,” she told The Weight She Carries. “I am from Kenya, a county known as Kirinyaga. I have three siblings, two sisters and one brother and I am the third-born in my family.
“Growing up, I knew the world wouldn’t be a bed of roses, but my mom was always there to push me to the next step. She made sure I grew up just like my siblings.”
Surely life was not an easy go for Winfred, who had to put extra effort for things to work out well. Some of the things you may call basic were challenging for her.
“The challenge I mostly had growing up was I had to try everything I did extra hard. I had to try even when I failed; I never gave up. I took time learning how to do house chores, to feed myself and clothe myself,” she said.
Winfred studied travel and tourism after secondary school, but after completing her course, a job was hard to come by. At that time, she started a small business selling women’s jewelry, particularly earrings. Her business was good enough to earn her a living, but her condition made it difficult for her to keep vending.
Then Winfred’s passion for music took over. Being a DJ presented her with an opportunity to make money out of her passion.
“I have always loved music, but due to my speech problem, I couldn’t become a singer, and that is how my mom suggested I can make a good DJ. My mother saw my talent before I did. My first time operating a turntable wasn’t easy as I use my feet and toes, and I almost gave up, but my mom couldn’t let me. I started DJing in 2018 and I have performed in many gigs.”
2018 was a good year for the upcoming DJ. She inspired a lot of people, and though many doubted her performances upon seeing her, she always made it a point to put on a good show. Winfred’s joy was unfortunately short-lived as the following year, she lost her mother who had always been a shoulder for her to lean on.
“I can never recover from losing my mom. It’s sad and I miss her every day. She was my best friend,” she said.
Though Winfred is still affected by the loss, she has plans to rise and be known worldwide.
“I dream of becoming an international DJ.”
Right now, Winfred is well-known in the streets as DJ Wiwa and she has no intention of stopping soon. The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped her from performing; she is providing entertainment on her social media pages.
“Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength,” an unknown author said. I hope you are determined not to let any condition hinder your from being successful in your endeavours.
Phoebie Shamiso Chigonde is a journalist passionate about gender equality, social development programmes and grassroots-based solution seeking initiatives. She has a passion for women and community development. Phoebie is also a radio personality at a regional commercial radio station, a platform that enables her to network with like-minded women, journalists and activists as she continues to document and tell the story of the ordinary woman from the lens of that very ordinary woman.