Nyamweya is a journalist currently attached to a leading Kenyan media
Winfred Wanjiku, popularly known as DJ Wiwa is not your regular DJ. Wanjiku was born with cerebral palsy condition that adversely affected several parts of her body including her hands uses her legs to spin decks; and this she does to perfection. However, she loved dancing whenever she could hear a tune of music. Due to this excessive love for music, the mother discovered that she could do well a DJ and motivated her to become one. Today, she is a successful DJ and hoping to build an “empire” out of this career. The DJ chats with SILAS NYAMWEYA on her resilience in the DJ world, challenges she has gone through and her dating life.
Kindly brief us about your background
Okay, my career name is DJ Wiwa but the name on the ID is Winfred Wanjiku Muchiri. I am the third born among 4 children from a single mother. Currently I live in Kirinyaga but my DJ career has taken me to different places in Kenya. I was born with a health condition known as cerebral palsy.
Did you always want to become a DeeJay?
I loved music since I was a baby and would always react to a music tune by dancing. However, the career I had in mind was modeling as I had always wanted to become a model. My sister was herself a model and she not only motivated me to pursue modeling but she also constantly thought me on how to do it. Till today, I still catwalk though I have not taken it to a professional level. Nonetheless, I decided to follow my mother’s wish of me pursuing a career as and started working out on how to become one.
How did you shape these thoughts into reality?
With the support of my mother who raised us single handedly, I joined a DJ in Nairobi called Talanta Institute in 2018. However, even before that, I could get gigs in shows, clubs, and other functions, thanks to my natural talent and prowess in the job. I only went to the academy to shape it.
How did your health condition affect your school life and life in general?
My health is just okay. For your information, cerebral palsy is just a disability like any other. However, I must admit that my school life was not an easy one. When it came to class work, I had problems in writing my notes and so I couldn’t keep up with my teachers’ speed. I always had problems in keeping with the teachers’ pace when it came to writing. The condition also affected my general life since I had to depend on my siblings on many aspects especially on basic needs. I believe this could have not been so if I was physically fit.
What support did your parent and relatives offer as it regards to this career?
Remember my mother is the one who suggested I pursue DeeJaying as a career and I followed her heart. Myself, I had a different dream which was modeling. This means I had all her support including financially. My siblings and other relatives also did not have any problem with this option.
As per your experience, what is the greatest challenge encountered by female DJs in this industry?
Most people want certain favors from female DJs for them to get a job or gig. There is also negative perception whereby; many think that a lady will not do the job expectedly or cannot work at a certain place and as such, they may end up leaving them aside. This is worse for someone who has a disability like me. Therefore, there are slim chances for ladies in getting jobs due to these aspects.
How has being a disabled DJ using legs to spin decks worked for you in this career?
Most people who see me see an inspiration while others are motivated in their lives. I mean if someone with disabled handles can do this perfectly using legs, why can’t I with good physique do the same? Out of sympathy and admiration, I get people who want to give me or hook me up for events and gigs.
How are you planning to expand your career to the next level?
Through commitment and resilient, I believe DJ Wiwa will be an empire in the near future. I am always working hard to perfect my skills through learning, practice, and experience.
Many DJs were forced to strategize during this covid-19 period, what is your experience?
Indeed, the covid-19 era has been a challenging time for those in the entertainment industry. Just like many others, I resigned my trade online by creating a channel and showcasing my talent. This way, I could earn some money.
We have not heard about DJ associations or unions, how is this affecting your career?
Actually, there are many such associations.. However, personally, I am yet to engage myself on any of them but I am considering this soon. For now, I am trying to build DJ Wiwa as a solo brand first.
What is your advice to disabled people with talent like you?
My advice to people with disabilities is to never let anybody or anything hold you down. Just push to realize your dream. This world needs resilience, hard work and commitment for you to survive and achieve your dream.
How do you think people with disabilities should be treated?
People with disabilities should not be mistreated at all. There should be equal opportunities whether in employment or when accessing services. What people need to know is that sometimes, we can do our jobs even better than the abled people.
What greatest challenge have you encountered as a result of your condition especially in relation to your job?
The greatest challenge has been proving to everyone that I can do my job as a DJ just like any other dj out there. This means that due to this stereotyping, I don’t get as much gigs as I would wish to have.
Please tell us something about your dating life, are you seeing someone?
For now, I just want to concentrate on my job and make my own money before I think of a relationship. I believe on the power of independence rather than dependency especially when it comes to financial matters before engaging in a relationship. This way, even your partner will respect you since you don’t have to depend on him for everything.
Your parting shot….
Please hire DJ Wiwa for any kind of events. You will certainly get value for your money.