Linet Masiro Munyali-Muraya, better known as Size 8 Reborn, has knocked the socks of poverty and worldly pleasures off. Today, she boasts of a generous heart, a reformed lifestyle that inspires many.
She narrates to eDaily a tale of unavailability and shortcomings that has only made her more focused and more determined – as a wife, mother, daughter, sibling and singer.
Size 8 appreciates all who have struggled to be what they are.
Born and raised in Eastlands, Nairobi
“I grew up in Maringo, Kimathi and Kariobangi South areas in Eastlands, Nairobi. I am the sixth born in a family of seven children. That explains why I am so loud; we were quite many in the house – I just had to develop such kind of an adaptation to be heard. I had to fight for my space.
“The age difference between our first born sibling and I is 12 years. She is the best; I used to call her mum.”
Houses in Maringo are quite small in space. Size 8 says they were 11 people residing in one house – how did they make that possible?
“We just fixed ourselves where we could. God later lifted our status. We thus relocated to Nairobi Posta – still in Maringo area. The new house had three bedrooms. We squeezed in. Life is about accepting what you have.”
About the notion that there’s rampant crime, drug abuse in Eastlands parts of Nairobi
“That is quite true. I escaped engaging in such activities when I was growing up because I was raised in a Christian family. Mimi nikitoka kwa tumbo ya mum nilikuwa nasema Yesu ni Bwana! The Bible says train a child in a way they should grow and when they grow, they should not depart from it.”
Growing up with hardship
They say growing up with hardship certainly makes you understand the value of your hard-earned skills. Size 8 can certify this theory.
The singer says hunger pangs were a common phenomenon when she was young – because her family was not financially buoyant. She says she relishes food and values its importance because she has in the past, suffered a hungry stomach severally. The hardship she says has toughened and empowered her with willpower and hope.
“My sisters and I lacked sanitary towels. Our house lacked electricity connection. Our taps ran dry. We did not have the luxury of eating three meals a day. Life was a struggle until I questioned God’s existence. But now, when I look back, I realise that God was training me to be a resilient person – a person with a strange hunger to strive, the hunger to seek and learn. I have learnt to become independent and self-initiated. I have bombarded the opportunities and strode confidently!
“I have learnt never to despise people – my husband (DJ Mo) and I are on a mission to help the less fortunate, especially children. We rolled out our aid mission in Buru Buru where we fund the education of a number of children. My husband understands what poverty is; and what it can do as he too grew up with hardship.”
State House Girls High School alumnus
Size 8 attended Dr. Livingstone Primary School and later joined State House Girls High School for secondary education.
“When I completed secondary education, I got full scholarship to Hillcrest International School. I left State House Girls in Form Three and did my years 11, 12 and 13 at Hillcrest – that is Form Five and Form Six.”
There is a subconscious sense of entitlement and pride that often manifests in quite a chunk of students who study in grand schools such as the ones Size 8 attended. How did she make sure she remains humble?
“Number one: I know everything on earth is vanity. Number two: everything I have is because of the grace of God, and not because of my own strength. God has given me everything – and what remains of me is to shine with it.”
Size 8 landed a partial scholarship to pursue her undergraduate at The University of Manchester, but sadly she could not raise the rest of the money needed for accommodation and tuition fee.
Transition from secular to gospel
Until April 2013, Size 8 was known for hits such as Shamba Boy, Vidonge, Silali among others. All were purely secular in nature.
When she saw the light exactly three years ago, Size 8 did not change her stage name – something that many thought she would. She explains why.
“I usually ask people one question. When you get saved, do you change your name? For example, I am Linet Munyali; does that mean when I shifted camp, I should have stopped being Linet Munyali? Definitely, no; the same applies to my stage name – I just needed to add the referral ‘reborn’, which I have.”
From an alpha female to a submissive wife
Size 8 got married to Samwel Muraya, commonly known as DJ Mo, in September 2013. Together they have a daughter Ladasha Belle Muraya, born in November 19, 2015.
Early this year, Size 8 revealed that marriage has changed her. She said that the institution has made her to do the things she had vowed not to do to a man. Size 8 now warms her husband’s bathwater, cooks, irons his clothes and does all that is considered a traditional wife’s duties. She explains the shift.
“I was an alpha female; no man could rule me. Marriage has changed me. It has made me a new person – it has taught me submission.
“Submission is not slavery; submission is power. In the Bible, Esther submitted before the king (her husband); and she rescued a whole lot of Israelites from being wiped out by the enraged king – isn’t that power? When you humble yourself before a man, there is nothing he cannot give you. Men are egoistic; the moment you become authoritative and combative, you ruin your relationship. The first thing a man wants is respect; the first thing a woman wants is love – that is why the Bible asks men to love their women as Christ loved the church.
“You cannot polarize a submissive woman against her husband. A submissive woman is a wise woman.”
Size 8’s earlier struggles with submission
The singer says she learnt to submit gradually – terming submission a product of progressive practice, and not an event.
“In the beginning of our marriage, I gave DJ Mo a hard time! I was an alpha female who had loads of money – why was he asking me to be submissive?
Expectedly, DJ Mo was infuriated with her behaviour.
“He used to get mad! He used to be temperamental, but he is now okay. DJ Mo could explode, and I was very loud. His anger was not making me become less loud, and my loudness was not helping him manage his temper. We sat down and agreed to compromise. He reduced his volatility, and I reduced on being mouthy; and now we coexist.
“However, I thank Bishop Allan Kiuna and Reverend Kathy Kiuna for their mentorship.
“When I failed to submit to DJ Mo during the early phase of our marriage, he would get angry and even stop talking to me for days. Sometimes he would get in his car and drive off to Naivasha; at that time, I was left at home throwing wild temper tantrums.
“When Bishop Allan Kiuna and Reverend Kathy Kiuna learnt of our infighting; they called us to their house for a lecture on marriage matters. They told us: ‘you have to live like this, do things this way and support each other in this manner’.
“Now we are happy, we are good and we coexist with each other. Mentorship and counseling is good for marriages; because many couples get into unions without knowing much about the institution of marriage.
New song featuring M.O.G’s Boss
Size 8 has released a new song featuring Boss M.O.G. dubbed Vumilia. Size 8 says DJ Mo linked her with Boss and even encouraged her to guide women in matters marriage – in the song; given her position as a wife.
“To me, that is a ministry God has given me – to encourage women to stay in marriage and to pray that marriages stand. In this wicked world, only the grace of God can sustain marriages.”