Gospel artiste: I was raped by a ‘pastor’ friend
Rose Mwihaki (Roz Haki) is a rape survivor. Formerly known as ‘Luscious’ in secular circles, the gospel artiste and motivational speaker featured in most local music videos. Life in the secular world separated her from family, church and then someone she thought was a friend, turned out to be a rapist. She spoke to Cate Mukei
You are among the first Kenyan music video dancers. How did you start?
I was brought up in military barracks. My father was a soldier and my mother was a church elder. My parents were very strict and I spent most of my days indoors. After high school, I spent most of my time listening to music. I got interested in music at a very early age. I later decided to approach music producers hoping they would record me, but most wanted either sex or money in return. I gave up. One day, I attended a jam session in town and my dancing captivated so many people. I went back to the same studios and danced for them and they hired me as a dancer.
Did your parents approve of your career choice?
My parents were very unhappy about this. They found out about my new career through a mix-tape I had compiled of videos and was hawking them in the neighbourhood. I was even thrown out of church where I used to sing. The church did not even give me a chance to explain myself. I was just asked to step down.
How was your life as a dancer?
I just wanted to change the perception about dancers. I was a virgin, teetotaller and only danced for the money. My goal was to save enough cash to enable me record my own song. Musicians would hit on me, but I totally ignored them. If I went out at night, I would make sure that I got home very early or make an excuse to leave before it got too late. I rebelled against my parents’ disapproval and told them I was a grown up.
Is it true you were once raped?
Yes, that is true. One evening in 2011, a friend of mine invited me for a party in Lang’ata, hoping I would meet a Ugandan artiste and possibly feature in his video. I knew the people in attendance, hence I was comfortable. However, a former top city club manager tried to hit on me and I ignored him. Being a teetotaller, I did not imagine anything could go wrong since I was sober. Unfortunately, at some point, I left my table with my drink unattended. When I came back to the table, I continued drinking, but I started feeling dizzy. My friend led me to a room and another guy (whom I had never met) walked in pretending to be concerned. I remember struggling with him before finally passing out. I woke up the next morning and realised that I was naked and covered in blood.
What did you do?
I just picked up my clothes and went home and never talked about it. I was guilty and kept blaming myself. I tried contacting the rapist two days later, but he was abusive and hung up. I tried following him at his place of work, but he had been fired for other reasons.
Did you ever meet him again?
Yes, after a very long time. A group of friends were gossiping about him and I learnt he was a former pastor who had been thrown out of church due to his unbecoming behaviour. When we met, I could not help myself and I slapped him. That’s when I began talking about the ordeal since people got curious.
How did you join the gospel scene?
Producer R-Kay invited me to feature in Collo’s Diamond Girl video. That video was my turning point. Unlike in most videos, I was only supposed to smile and wear a decent dress. At first, I was offended since I imagined he wanted a conservative model because he could not afford to pay me. But shockingly, this was the best paying video I had featured in. During the lunch break, I spoke to R-Kay and shared my story, hoping that he would offer me a recording deal for free. But he asked to first seek guidance from God. I got so angry and left.
Why were you angry?
I really did not understand what R-Kay meant. I thought it was an insult. However, the more I thought about it, the more I discovered how empty and unhappy I was in the secular world.
What did you do next?
I switched off my phone to avoid phone calls from friends, whose main interest was to go out and party. I also stayed indoors most of the time. My mother got a bit suspicious and asked me what was going on with me. But she was very happy and relieved when I revealed that I had gotten saved.
How did you finally record your first gospel song?
I went back to R-Kay and told him that I had decided to get saved and he offered to record my first song for free. It took prayers to earn a free recording deal. I’m forever grateful to R-Kay. He is still my mentor.
Is that the reason you became a motivational speaker?
Oh, yes! I found it important to share with other girls and mentor them. I wouldn’t want them to go through a similar ordeal.