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About me
My name is Synaida Njoki Wanjiku. My artist name is Scheneider Shanny. That’s how I used to call myself when I was little. I wrote my name this way, and my mom also started calling me Scheneider Shanny. I like this name better, so I kept it. I grew up in Dandora, in a family with three girls. I’m the first born. Now I have my own family, with my husband and my beautiful little daughter Lisa.
What inspires me
When I was in primary school, there was a teacher that inspired me a lot. His name was Muhoro Thuo. He was my best teacher, because he used to tell his students: "Do what you think you can do. You are still young." Some people would write poems, others would sing or dance. He just made us do it. And the more you do it, the more you grow. That’s how he made us discover our talents, each and everyone.
My talent
I discovered that I loved writing stories and poems, and singing even more. I started singing when I was about ten years old. Classic and gospel songs are my favourite. My environment, experiences and other people inspire me to write. That’s how sometimes I write the songs I sing myself, but for the moment I mostly sing covers. My music comes from inside. If I’m in a bad mood, I sing sad songs. But when I’m feeling good, that’s when the music is happy, too. It’s a way of expressing myself.
Life as an artist
Being an artist is just a title. The challenges are the same for all the people. You have to face them, if you are an artist or not. But singing is helping me because it makes me happy. What is special about artists is that they have their own way of thinking. That’s why they are important to the community. For example, the money we make, we bring it back to the community. We see things positively and we want change. My husband introduced me to Kica in 2018 because he knows I love arts, singing… It was so good meeting all these people. We rehearse together, and we also talk a lot. People start to open up, because we are so strong in our team. We’ve learnt to trust each other. One day, people from the Spanish embassy invited us to play for them, and they paid us for it. I would love to do this more often. There will soon be a program starting, called “Teen stars”. We are the first group in Kenya, and this is a big dream! For the future I hope that things will be better in our country. People are suffering. With more security, health care… our lives would be better. Life in Kibera is hard, but you know what.. not all the people are bad! I used to think that people here are bad, and many others from outside think so, too. But when you live here you realize that there are so many nice people here. Everybody just hopes to improve his life. We help each other, we are a team.
My impact
I think we have an impact on the community here, especially on the kids. For example with Kica’s mentorship program: In the beginning we had to go after them so that they would listen. Now they come on their own, and there are more and more of them. So I think they like what we do. Also we perform somewhere, they show up and support us. What I would really love to do is to earn something with my group that could allow me to help other people. I’d visit the streets and take care of people in need. Right now I can’t do that, I don’t have a lot of money. But one day I wish I could do this, together with my band.
My message to the community
Whenever you get an opportunity to do good, do it with everything you got.