“I am writing this while hurting inside. I have been taken advantage of for the past 17 years; smiling while hurting in the inside. I am tired now, really tired (sic). I reached out to people who could help, but they chose to ignore me. If I continue harboring my problems, I see myself dying soon.
“Do I look happy? No, I don’t. If I don’t speak out today, you’ll wake up to news that Nyota Ndogo is dead. She died from depression.
“When I was new in the music industry, I literally feared making news headlines for the wrong reasons. My family members knew that. They thus decided to use that to blackmail me. ‘She fears making negative news headlines. Let us take advantage of her by threatening her that we will paint her name in bad light on media, and she will give in to our demands’, that is what my family members used to say.
“I have always taken care of my mother, from the days when I was working as a nanny. I would give her the little money I earned. The only things I bought myself were sanitary towels and body lotion, the remaining amount of my salary I gave out to mum. My siblings benefited from that money.
“My elder brother, Juma, who hurled abuses at me during my wedding, had already established himself in the music industry. He told me, when I was new in the music industry, that I won’t make it, given I was not talented musically. I stopped bothering him.
“Determined, I chose to soldier on and consequently made it in the music industry. My songs were being played on music stations at a time I was a house help. When my brother learnt that the famous Nyota Ndogo he was listening to on radio stations was me, he harbored more hatred toward me. The hatred was so much that he clobbered me senseless one day – before a group of people. He wanted to humiliate me. The reason for beating me up was: I had sent my younger sister to go buy a packet of salt from the shop, and she returned with tomatoes. On asking my sibling to go back to the shop and bring what I had sent her, my brother beat me up. He started shouting: ‘You are becoming arrogant because you have money.’
“One day when I appeared as a guest on Churchill Show, my husband, who was a boyfriend to me then, called me on phone and asked when he will see my family. We were only one week old into the relationship. I told my brother, Juma, and mother that my lover wanted to meet them. A few months later when he came to the country, my husband insisted he wanted to meet my family. My mother and brother were in Nairobi at the time.
“My husband said we will meet them there (Nairobi). On arriving at my brother’s place, they learnt I was dating a white man. They thus insisted that he should pay a lot of money as my bride price.
“When I returned inside the house, given I had gone outside to talk to my sister, I found my man angry. I asked him what the problem was, to which he responded: ‘Your brother tells me I must part with Ksh200, 000 on this day, or he will steal my wallet and money’. When I informed my mother about my brother’s threats, she said: ‘I support him (brother)’.
“My husband, who was then breathing fire, called a taxi, and we left in a hurry. My husband asked me: ‘Do you really love me – genuinely – or it is motivated by money?’
“My mother and brother had planned that when the old man visits them, they lure me outside the house, and my brother remains inside to extort him. My husband did not believe me when I said I was not part of the plot to extort him.
“In a hotel room, where we had checked into, I kept on shedding tears. My husband would, later, believe that I was not part of the group which wanted to extort him.
“We stuck together despite the opposition from my brother and mother. After two years together, we agreed to settle down as husband and wife.
“While in Denmark, one day my brother called my husband on phone and threatened him to send him Ksh200, 000 via mobile money lest he do something terrible to him.
“Today, if I am dumped, the first people who will celebrate my woes will be my family.
“Two years into our relationship, my husband, a then-fiance to me, asked to meet my mother – again – so that he could formally ask for my hand in marriage. I informed my elder brother of my husband’s intentions.
“My brother told me: ‘I have no time to come to your wedding. I will be busy working on my music projects. I won’t let down my band because of your wedding’.
“He, five minutes later, wrote me a message: ‘Tell that grandfather of yours to send me Ksh200, 000 if you truly want me to attend your wedding.’
“When I did not respond to his text, he sent a series of threats, saying: ‘I will come to your wedding and attack you, then ask young men to relieve themselves on meals, before I slap that grandfather of yours senseless.’
“My husband and I, nonetheless, went and visited my mother, who gave us her blessings. We, thereafter, went on with our wedding plans. My husband completed building my mother a house in Mombasa as part of my bride price. A few months after our wedding, my mother would say she wanted another house built for her in Voi, Taita Taveta County. I was shocked.
“I come out today to say: I am tired, extremely tired. Every time I come out to help my family members, they think it is their right to be helped. I am broke because of them. My mother does not love her grandchildren, even my son Mbarak knows. My family does not like me or my husband and children. My husband was in Kenya a few months ago. He built my mother a house in Voi, and when that was done, she said she wanted a fridge. We bought her a Ksh50, 000 refrigerator. After a while, she said she was tired of living in Voi and wanted to go back to Mombasa. Mum is insatiable. My sister Leila and brother Juma are operating as a team in fighting me.
“I am tired of this, I cannot take my family’s hatred toward me anymore!
“I have done everything to make my mother comfortable, and anywhere you see her looking dejected, don’t say I have abandoned her, she worked hard to degrade herself.
“I love my mother. She should not choose on the children she discriminates upon.”