Kenyan singer Nyota Ndogo has composed a life anthem that resonates with determination, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to her values. Her recent candid account on Facebook unveils a remarkable journey from the Ukunda slums of Majengo, Mombasa, to the stages of musical triumph.
At the tender age of seventeen, Nyota faced a crossroads familiar to many in challenging circumstances.
Rather than compromising her values, she chose the path of housekeeping.
“I was seventeen going on eighteen; I chose to be a housekeeper and not to sell my body,” she bravely declared. This decision set the tone for her extraordinary journey.
Embracing the philosophy of “whoever goes slowly will arrive,” Nyota spent four months working as a housekeeper in Nyali. Living frugally, she saved 6 thousand shillings, a portion of which she sent to her mother. Despite limited formal education, her focus was clear – amass funds to support her family.
“The only thing I used to buy is always (sanitary pads),” she confessed, highlighting the sacrifices made during this period.
Nyota’s musical journey, surprisingly, began against the backdrop of housekeeping. Recalling moments when her identity as Nyota Small was questioned, she faced disbelief.
However, her perseverance and musical talent caught the attention of radio stations. The media may have emphasized her background as a housegirl in Nyali, but Nyota’s gratitude echoed louder: “All thanks to God and those who contributed to my growth.”
Born Mwanaisha Abdalla, Nyota Ndogo is the second of six children and the eldest among the girls. Her early struggles with education, attending Makande Primary School but unable to sit for exams due to financial constraints, led her to the role of a househelp.
In an interview with the Standard Group, she revealed how the job allowed her to nurture her musical talent, listening to songs on television and radio, writing, and humming tunes that would later become her signature.
Nyota’s story took a significant turn when her employer noticed her ambition and treated her as part of the family. This support paved the way for her introduction to music producer Andrew Burchell, aka Madebe, who recorded her debut album, Chereko.