Nyota Ndogo: From Refusing to ‘Sell herBody to Men’ to Working as a Househelp Earning Ksh 6,000 Monthly, to Making Millions in Music

Kenyan artist Nyota Ndogo has crafted a life anthem that embodies determination, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to her principles. In a recent candid account shared on Facebook, she unveils a remarkable journey from the challenging Ukunda slums of Majengo, Mombasa, to the triumphant stages of her musical career.

At the age of seventeen, Nyota encountered a crossroads that is all too familiar to many facing challenging circumstances. Instead of compromising her values, she opted for the path of housekeeping. “I was seventeen going on eighteen; I chose to be a housekeeper and not to sell my body,” she courageously declared. This decision marked the beginning of her extraordinary journey.

Adopting the philosophy of “whoever goes slowly will arrive,” Nyota spent four months working as a housekeeper in Nyali. Living modestly, she managed to save 6 thousand shillings, a portion of which she sent to her mother. Despite limited formal education, her focus remained clear – accumulate funds to support her family. “The only thing I used to buy is always (sanitary pads),” she confessed, underscoring the sacrifices made during this period.

Surprisingly, Nyota’s musical journey began against the backdrop of her housekeeping role. Despite moments when her identity as Nyota Small was met with skepticism, her perseverance and musical talent eventually caught the attention of radio stations. While the media may have highlighted her background as a housegirl in Nyali, Nyota’s gratitude resonated even louder: “All thanks to God and those who contributed to my growth.”

Born Mwanaisha Abdalla, Nyota Ndogo is the second of six children and the eldest among the girls. Early struggles with education, attending Makande Primary School but unable to sit for exams due to financial constraints, led her to take on the role of a househelp.

In an interview with the Standard Group, she disclosed how her job allowed her to nurture her musical talent by listening to songs on television and radio, writing, and humming tunes that would later become her signature.

Nyota’s narrative took a significant turn when her employer recognized her ambition and treated her as part of the family. This support opened the door to her introduction to music producer Andrew Burchell, aka Madebe, who recorded her debut album, Chereko.