#WCW: Tasha- From a street girl to Kenya’s leading female dancer

Grace Gathoni aka Tasha is a woman of many faces, a mother, leading female dancer, bandleader and wife all in one.

SDE: Tell us more about Tasha

Tasha is a former hopeless street girl within Nairobi, who managed to come out smelling like a rose flower. In other words despite all the life difficulties I went through while growing up to the point of missing out on school, I managed to conquer and today I can proudly say that I am mother of two and wife to Kenya’s dancing machine cum singer Kanda King.

SDE: Does this mean you don’t plan on going back to school?

Upon completing my primary and secondary education I decided to pursue a diploma course in International Air Transport Association Management at the East African School of aviation which I am yet to complete in September.

SDE: How do you manage to juggle your studies, music, dance and your role as a mother and wife?

I strive to be positive in whatever I do in order to make a mark. With 24 hours in a day I have enough time left to go about my duties among other things.

SDE: You were named one of Kenya’s female best dancers sometime back last year. What is the secret to your success?

I attribute my success to God’s mercy and favor upon my life. I often assured myself that God is aware of what I desired to be in life and that it was just a matter of time before He showered me with the blessings. 

SDE: Did you ever dream of reaching such a level in your dancing career?

Like many other youngsters I had dreams and had to work hard for it besides embracing the art of persistence. Although during the initial stages of my career I struggled hard to make it but despite this I never gave up. Today, I am glad that all has worked well.

SDE: Apart from dancing,you also sing tell us more

Apart from having launched my nine-track album Mapenzi, I have been busy working on a number of musical projects to be released soon. I also lead the African Rhythm band alongside my husband Kanda King.

SDE: Speaking of Kanda King how did you meet?

Although it is a long story- but in a nutshell we met during one of his performances within a Nairobi Club. At the time he asked a few people who could come on stage to showcase their skills and I happened to be one of them. One thing led to another and the rest is history. 

SDE: Who is the real Tasha off stage?

A marketing wizard who is energetic besides having a sweet tongue and a way with words.

I am warm, jovial and believable I could sell ice to eskimos. However, beneath the sweet, light face is a life-hardened character, a product of both my humble upbringing and tough realities I faced as a street child.

SDE: Tell us about your humble family background

I grew up in Huruma slums raised by a single parent who had polymyotisis, an infection that affects the muscles, while my older brother was also handicapped. At the age of eight, I went to the dangerous Nairobi streets to try make ends meet.

SDE: How did you make your way out of the streets?

I was aided with sponsors from the Pangani Lutheran Children Centre who at the time were looking for girls to take to the centre. They were informed of my woes by one of my teachers; it was hard for them to notice that I was actually a girl. When they told me that they wanted to take me to the centre, I did not want to listen to them until they paid me. At that young age, all I thought of was money to help support my family.

SDE: What of the band… African Rhythm?

I joined Kanda and his singer Sister Princess Farida's Rhythms Band as a back-up singer and later became its lead singer. My debut album tells of my past and of love. I take pleasure in performing shows on live bands.

SDE: What is your take on HIV/ Aids?

 HIV/ Aids is real hence the need to be careful. Those infected need our support in terms of love and care. We need to do away with the stigma.

SDE: Do you get tested for HIV regularly?

T: Yeap…. But at the end of the day it is all about being careful. Life is what you make out of it.

SDE: Suppose you tested positive?

Nowadays it is common to contract the disease thus when you find out the best option is to live positively and eat healthy.

SDE:  In an industry surrounded by sex, groupies, drugs and alcohol how do you handle that?

I don’t let myself get swayed easily by life’s pleasures which are normally short-lived and can be dangerous. I try to be the best wife to my husband (Kanda King and a role model to my children. I am a teetotaler with a sober mind.

SDE: Advice to the youth?

To be true to themselves… what they see on showbiz is totally different from what we are in real life. Those infected should learn to live positively… while the rest should abstain from having sex …. But if they must, then always use condoms.


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