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Slum boy preaching peace with music

16 March 2012, 14:44 Bernard Gitau

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Talents if nurtured from earlier stages can transform everyone’s life where neither poverty nor wealth can deter it from igniting and exploring its destiny in the human life.

According to a 22 years old Thomas Rhodesh who has been brought up in Kapkures area in the outskirts of Nakuru town have learnt his lesson through the hard way but thank God for the music talent he has.

“Music is my life and it being a unifying factor to most youths, I have devoted my life to preach peace in Nakuru especially after experiencing the traumatizing episodes during the disputed 2007 general elections”.

Thomas is fondly known as ‘Tomaso’ due to his regular rallies in sensitizing youths on peace around Nakuru slum areas and was born in Eldoret town but later his parents vacated and traced their roots back to their ancestral land in Kakamega but their stay was cut short after their father died while he was 2 years old.

Thomas Rhodesh

A third born in a family of 8 said that, life has not been a walk in the park living in slum where poverty, immorality, violence and drugs abuse is the order of the day.

Life changed completely for his family after the sudden demise of their father and her mother found it difficult to stay with the in law as the relationship started to strain.

“My mother has constantly lamented the emotional and mental torture he underwent through the short time we spent in our grandpa home in Kakamega as they claimed she was exposing them to unnecessary burden of rearing other kids and that forced her to elope and landed in Nakuru Kapkures area where we have spent our lives though with a lot of challenges.” Tomaso said.

Lack of school fees, basic necessities made him to start grazing for money and also cutting green grass transporting it to farmers with animals to be paid KES 50 which he was to take home to feed his siblings.

Thomas Rhodesh

His mother who is a casual laborer could not manage to pay the school fees and he had to quit so as giving way for his little siblings to complete their primary education.

Music for him started as far as primary school where he would perform for other students and also participate in music competition at different levels.

He wrote his first song ‘Nishike Mkono” while in form one but due to lack of money to produce and record it, his attempts hit a snag but he continued to write more songs hoping a day will come and manage to secure a sponsor to record them.

After dropping from high school at form two his effort were awarded when a local music producer studio recorded him his first song ‘Nishike Mkono” which did a little better that Tomaso was able to record 8 more songs.

“Rift Valley has been a focal point and the epicenter of ethnic clashes from as 1992 and particularly during election time and youths are prone to fall into hands of leaders without integrity who pays them to cause chaos therefore I felt it will be fine for me to engage them in peace campaigns through music”.

Tomaso who leads a group called The Messenger has been able to unite hundreds of youths from Rhonda Estate, Kaptembwo, Langa Langa, Ponda Mali and Bondeni which were mostly affected by the post election violence.

Thomas Rhodesh

The Messenger has lived to their expectations as they have managed to perform in different parts of the country especially in Molo, Njoro, Kuresoi, Eldoret so as to sensitize youths in those areas the importance of peace and coexistence among different tribes.

They have also travelled to Uganda and Tanzania courtesy of a Gospel Musician in Kenya Ruff Tone who has motivated them and supported them in their work.

“Some parents are very irresponsible for they do not cater for their kids, while women sometimes feed their young ones with illicit brew so that they may sleep and stop disrupting them.”

Immorality has thrived leading to young girls dropping out of school and engaging in prostitution.

The trend is changing but the group is urging the local leaders, NGOs and Government institutions to set recreational facilities in those areas so as youths may be interacting enhancing sense of patriotism.

“Youths are eager and have vowed not to engage themselves in war and conflict incited by leaders with low integrity and who want to benefit due to insecurity.”

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