He has rocked the scene with his on-the-edge rap, bagging himself several accolades. And, he believes being a person with albinism is no boundary for one to sail the ocean that is Malawi urban music culture.
Today, Taqwa, real name Takiwa Issa, believes only artistic unity is the vehicle to fight the ills people with albinism are facing. He has teamed up with marketing and branding company, Ibrows Branding Company, to spread the word of love through music and branded T-shirts.
Taqwa, who has worked with established artistes such as Third Eye, Atoht Manje and The Dominant 1, has in his awards collection port the 2014 Sprite Urban Expression and the 2018 CocaCola Rap Challenge accolades. He also slammed the 2017 Made on Monday Freestyle Battle, hosted by the award-winning MBC DJ Joy Nathu.
One of the 25-year-old’s songs, We Gon Be, enjoys airtime on radio and TV. It brings to light the social ills people with albinism are facing in Malawi, where stories of abductions and killings of people with albinism abound today.
“It is sad. Any slight noise in the night, fear grips you. You can’t go out at night for recording sessions at the studio. It is just too bad. The good thing is that I will now be able to spread the message through music as well as branded T-shirts,” said Taqwa, who was a marvel in the Mibawa Upcoming Artists Talent Show.
Taqwa, the Wise Up creator who is also a
businessperson, says life has changed completely since the macabre killings came to light.
He says: “When the clock chimes 4pm, I have to be out of Blantyre Flea Market because of these threats. There is absolutely no privacy. It is all very abnormal. I am upping my game musically as I always double my efforts when I am working on a new song. Putting across the message of our plight is great.”
Ibrows director Jones Nalikungwi says proceeds from the T-shirts bearing the artistic expression ‘Wa chiAlbino Naye ndi Munthu’, will go for Taqwa’s music production.
“It is a not-for-profit endeavour. It breaks my heart to hear of little children and even adults with albinism being killed by misguided people who think their body parts can be used as muti. As an artist and designer, this is my contribution in the fight,” said Nalikungwi.
According to him, the T-shirts will be on the street this week. “We are glad that we have Taqwa as brand ambassador and champion for the label that will raise awareness on the evil here and beyond,” said Nalikungwi, also known for his Mulungu Si Jemusi tag.
And, while we are at it, Taqwa is gaining in-roads in the Malawi hip-hop culture, if his exploits with Bossaro Music Group is anything to go by. He has already recorded Mukutipheranji with the label, which spots high-ranging rapster, Piksy.
According to the group’s managing partner Dalitso Mtambo, Taqwa features in an upcoming song, which has the names that matter on the Malawi urban music scene. These include Phyzix, Barry One, Cyclone and Hyphen.
“Taqwa has so much potential and he is very talented. Winning the freestyle competition shows you how much style he has in his bag,” said Mtambo.
Nathu described Taqwa as a promising artist, citing his coming tops in the Made on Monday Freestyle Battle as one of the proofs.
“The third round had over 40 rappers, but Taqwa made it into the first round against five other freestylers. He was voted the best by a panel of judges and followers of the event. He is not just your other rapper for his freestyles flow naturally that you know he did not memorise any of it,” said Nathu.
For Taqwa, all this is evidence that there are no holds barred for him to soar higher. “My music is about everyday struggles. It is against the social degradation fuelled by drug and alcohol abuse. Hard work is a must in my game,” he says. n