Winfred Wanjiku is a fast-rising star in Kenya’s entertainment industry despite living with disability.
A few years back, she did not know what the future held. Considering her condition, she never imagined she would one day be a well-known entertainer, especially in Kenya’s stuffed industry.
Winfred was born with cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. In her case, her arm movements are not coordinated as they should be.
However, despite the magnitude of the challenge she faces, Winfred made the most of what she had; determination and resolve.
As a young girl, Winfred went to school in Kenya’s Central Province, albeit with frequent hardships. All along her love for music was deep.
She also never shied from trying to contribute to the family chores.
Upon completion of her secondary education, she decided to pursue a course in travel and tourism management.
With jobs hard to come by, Winfred ventured into hawking business despite her condition. For months, she sold women’s accessories in Thika town, some 40 kilometers from the capital, Nairobi.
For much of 2017, she continued to brave the tough hawking business to earn a living and help her family.
Growing up with disability, Winfred was close to her mother, whom she considered to be her strongest pillar in life.
Her mother believed she could achieve so much more despite the challenges that arose from her condition. Her mother particularly took note of her love for music, and thought maybe she could turn that passion into a source of income.
“As a child, I loved music. So, one day as we were in the house, my mother said to me, ‘Winnie, I see the way you love music. Can’t you pursue Deejaying?’ I just laughed it off. Everyone thought it was just a joke and laughed about it. But later I thought about it and felt I could actually become a DJ. From then onwards, I decided that I would pursue Deejaying after finishing my Tourism course,” said Winfred.
“My mother saw my talent before I did.”
And pursue it she did.
The birth of DJ WIWA
In 2018, Winfred registered for a DJ course, a big leap into a dream she now lives.
She trained herself to operate the DJ deck using her feet, just as other DJ’s use their hands.
Winfred went on to complete her disk jokey course and later ventured full time into the career.
She coined her stage name DJ WIWA, an acronym for Winfred Wanjiku.
Her condition sets her apart from other disk jockeys, but that does not satisfy her ambitions. Her determination has seen her become a common name in the entertainment industry and beyond.
Some people still get shocked whenever she shown up for events as the main disk jockey. But that only serves to motivate her.
“When I’m hired for a gig, the audience first gets shocked. They ask, ‘Can this DJ manage the job?’ They get shocked at first so I do my best to show them that I can,” she said.
And now, her story has inspired many people, and she is gradually becoming
“When I walk on the streets, people recognize me. They say ‘DJ Wiwa, you’re doing a great job.’ Some tell me I am an inspiration to their children. That makes me feel good. When I trained to become a DJ, I did not expect to become an inspiration. I just did it because of the passion I have for music. I am happy my passion became an inspiration to someone else,” said Winfred.
Sadly, Winfred lost her mother in 2019, a huge blow for her because she had so much planned for her.
Even though her mother’s death hit her hard, she continues to carry her spirit, one that has seen her rise to become an inspiration to many.
“Last year, my dream was to build a house for my mother. To give her a better life. But she passed away in December. Now, my dream is to make sure I don’t disappoint her. I have to become someone of great value,” she said.
Like every entertainer in Kenya, Winfred was affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. Government measures meant to curb further spread of the disease meant entertainment joints were shut down and public gatherings were banned.
But the pandemic brought with it the option of online entertainment.
Winfred moved her acts to social media (Winnie Daniel – Dj Wiwa) where thousands of her fans still reach her and enjoy her sessions.