Stumble, do not fall
| July 7th 2013
Unplanned pregnancy is a teenager’s biggest fear. If it happens, however, that should not be mark the end of life. ALVINA GACHUGU, 20, faced similar circumstances. The experience saw her compose a beautiful song, Mama. KIUNDU WAWERU caught up with her.
Q: You just released your new single, which is unique for the fact that you shot the video while pregnant. Tell us about it
AW: I shot the video with Dreamland Films. It was quite tiring but still quite energising. I always get an adrenaline rush doing things I love. The song, Mama, celebrates all the mothers and women out there. I think after carrying the pregnancy, I appreciated my mother more. I first wrote the song Mama last year, albeit in a different tune, but did not achieve the quality I wanted thanks to an amateur producer who shot my video with a handheld camcorder. True, I was naïve and did not know things to do with production, lighting and high definition cameras, but I am glad because shooting the second attempt at the video, while pregnant, gave it a different perspective.
Q: Do you mind speaking about the pregnancy? (This interview happened two weeks to her giving birth.
AW: Well, it is still a fresh wound and a tender topic, but I would just like to say to girls out there; getting pregnant is not the end of life. As you can see, I am still pursuing my studies and my dreams, and I thank God for baby Doremy. I believe everything happens for a reason, and a good one at that. I am grateful for the challenges I have faced that have made me a stronger and wiser person.
Q: Do you do music full time?
AW: Almost. I teach music when the chance arises, and host karaoke events. I used to host three times a week, but currently, I do it once every Tuesday at Club Casablanca in Hurlingham. I also do professional BGV’s (background vocalist) and have collaborated with various artistes from East Africa. As an artiste I believe flexibility is a must. That is why you will see me in taarab music videos like Chawa Kunguni, Mwema, Nisemeni and Jirani. I am not a taarab artist but took up the challenge to try a new genre. At one point, I was part of a band, all girl pop group and a duet, but all disbanded. The glaring reason for these break-ups was always lack of commitment by the members to the cause; most lacked patience and tolerance. Thus, I opted to go solo. I am also an actor, writer and emcee of events when the opportunity arises.
Q: Tell us a bit about your acting and writing.
AW: I completed my last paper, French, Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education, on Friday November 12, 2010. The following day, I went for auditions at the Kenya National Theatre for travelling theatre with Theatrix Arts Ensemble. Turns out, my love for set books in high school paid off. We would travel to all over the country performing. After a few months, I went amber, getting ready for the next opportunity. During this time, I decided to focus on stationary theatre because travelling theatre took too much of my time, besides, I had been called to the University of Nairobi. After joining campus, I found out that I could not do without theatre, so I joined Next Level Production Company.
It was while acting at the Alliance Française with the Next Level that I got great news. I was going to France! I was the best in an international French exam, DELF B2, Higher Diploma and I won a fully paid linguistique course and stay in France for about a month from July 2011. The government was so kind as to provide us with pocket money, 200 Euros (Ksh 22,400) each. I am currently working on a book MY MEMOIRS IN FRANCE (we have seen the manuscript, this girl can write) that has all the details of my first time on a plane and in a new country. It is dedicated to Madame Christine Milanga, a teacher who believed in me and forced me to sit for that exam. She succumbed to breast cancer recently, June 3. God rest her soul in peace.
Q: Your life seems like fun. How do you unwind?
AW: I play the guitar, piano and recorder. I also like writing, being photographed, trying out new things, performing, talking, and laughing. Did I mention I love talking?
Q: Your parting shot?
AW: We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have travelled from the point where they started. I thank God for bringing me this far and will keep on keeping on. I trust that He has in a lot in store for me.
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