In Summary

  • Trailblazing women in music as the world marks “International Women’s Day”.
  • This year’s theme is “Invest in women: Accelerate progress”.
  • One of the major challenges in achieving gender equality by 2030 is the lack of adequate financing.

As the world commemorates ‘International Women’s Day’, Women across the globe are celebrated for their remarkable contributions to this planet. I sought to delve on the lives of trailblazing Kenyan women in music whose voices continue to please our ears up to date. They are namely, Nazizi Hirji, Suzzana Owiyo, Mercy Masika and Sanaipei Tande.

These women have stood the test of time, navigating through life with sheer determination while inspiring generations.

Their demeanor goes in tandem with this year’s theme, “Invest in women: Accelerate progress”. They have proved beyond limits that it’s wise to bank on women.

Nazizi PHOTO Instagram


Nazizi -Age 43yrs (First Lady of Hip hop)

Nazizi Hirji dropped her first song at the age of 15 years and has never looked back since then.

She’s fondly referred to as the “First Lady of Hip hop” for being among the women who pioneered the art.

By the late 90s to early 2000s, Nazizi was a household name in the entertainment world.  Together with her group, Necessary Noize with Bamzigi and Wyre they went on to win several accolades.

When Bamzi opted out, Nazizi carried it on with Wyre until they ventured on solo careers. However, Wyre remains Nazizi’s confidant and has featured in other collaborative pieces.

Having also exceled in media, Nazizi is a testament that women can also excel in their fields.

Nazizi has had her lowest moments with the first one losing her beloved brother, Feroze.

Secondly, she lost her son, Jazeel Adam in December last year while on vacation in Dar Es Sallam. She’s still grieving, we’re sending prayers love and light.

Most of our new-age stars draw their inspiration from none other than the “First Lady Of Hip hop”.

Suzanna Owiyo PHOTO Instagram


Suzanna Owiyo-Age 48yrs

Suzanna Owiyo began her singing as a backup vocalist. Her grandfather had introduced her to the Nyatiti at a tender age.

She found herself following this path and believed of making it big someday, some of her old photos looking ‘old-school’ while performing in dingy joints attest to her tumultuous road to stardom.

Suzanna burst into the limelight at the centennial celebrations of the lakeside city of Kisumu in 2001. Her composition “Kisumu 100” did the magic and remains a classical.

She has travelled the world, dined with Kings and Queens,  won several accolades and collaborated with global stars like the late Oliver Mtukudzi and Mbilia Bel among others.

Suzanna is also an ambassador championing for the girl child, she works closely with Plan International in a global campaign dubbed “Because I’ am a Girl”. Dozens of girls from humble backgrounds have benefitted through education sponsorships.

Suzanna is aging like fine wine; her skin glows and she still looks stunning with her ‘advanced age’.

Musically, she’s still evergreen and strums the Nyatiti like no one’s business. She has also collaborated with some newbies in the afro fusion world like Costar Ojwang among others.

Suzanna is also a shrewd entrepreneur and runs businesses on the sidelines.

Sanaipei PHOTO Instagram


Sanaipei Tande -Age 38yrs

Sanaipei Tande bumped into the limelight thanks to Coca-Cola Popstars (East Africa) Talent Search in 2004.

Together with her bandmates, Kev and Pam.

They went on to release chart topping hits like Leta Wimbo, Mwewe and Sakalakata among others.

Deferring her education in pharmacy, Sanaa as she’s fondly referred to sought to follow her heart as a creative.

Even with the death of her group, she charted her own path creating timeless music.

Like Nazizi, Sanaa also had her stint in media where she exceptionally excelled.

Her exploits spread to acting where she also has an indelible mark. Sanaipei is still actively involved in music and runs a tight diary.

She continues to inspire generations while living her best life.

Mercy Masika PHOTO Instagram


Mercy Masika- Age 41 yrs

When it comes to gospel music, the name Mercy Masika cannot go unmentioned.

She realized she could sing at a tender age and began composing and recording her creations.

By the time she was clearing university, she was a figure to reckon with as far as gospel music is concerned.

Her runaway hits Mwema and Nifunze among others stand as pillars in praise and worship.

Her lifestyle, free from blemish and controversies further depict her as a woman living a purposeful life.

Mercy Masika was tapped by the UN (United Organization) as a goodwill ambassador championing for the rights of refugees.

The Mwema hitmaker is a source of inspiration and a leader in her own capacity.

Her teachings depict a woman of virtue setting a good example not only to other women but men as well.

According to the latest report by the UN on the milestones achieved by women. One of the major challenges in achieving gender equality by 2030 is lack of adequate funding.

Happy International Women’s Day!!




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