Kenya: Nyashinski - Life in the U.S. Was Too Harsh, I Had to Return Home

26 September 2020

When the family of Nyamari Ongegu, who is popularly known by the stage name Nyashinski, got a chance to relocate to Delaware, USA, the then 21-year-old was excited, but he did not know what lay ahead.

At the time, more than 10 years ago, Nyashinski's music career had just begun to pick up. He was a member of the poplar Kleptomaniacs music group.

But when he arrive in the US things turned out to be the opposite of what he expected. He even quit music.


"When we moved abroad, I had completely quit music. I was working back in the States as a truck driver. I used to drive a lorry, trying to survive," the rapper said on his YouTube channel Nyashinski Talks, which premiered this week.

Nyashinski says he experienced challenges adjusting to the new environment and his only company was the truck he was driving for long hours.

"I had started wearing out. The job runs you down. And it is a lonely existence because you are on the road for weeks on end. Just you, the truck and the long road ahead. Relationships breakdown, your health suffers too. I knew many older drivers whose marriages had broken down due to the work. Also, I know I worried my parents a lot. They didn't know where I was sleeping, they were scared of me getting an accident, which thankfully, through the years, I didn't. Not even a speeding ticket," he narrated.

He says the monotony of being on the road would only be broken by brief moments when he stopped to fuel, sleep, shower and use the bathroom.


"So you find yourself enjoying small conversations with people you meet for five minutes. At least it was a way from that cage."

The experience made him reflect on his life and he regretted leaving Kenya where he had a social life and a good career.

"That experience taught me a lot. Two things that were life-changing for me back then was one, when I was here, I was a star. People recognized me everywhere and we were doing what we loved. I moved from a place where I was known and getting a bit of favours here and there to a place where no one knows me. No special treatment and you must work because you have to eat," he said.

A friend who noticed his passion for music urged him to go to the studio and record, a move that sparked his urge to return home.


"So back in the States, my friend told me to just go in the studio and exert that pressure as a lyricist. I did not have to release the songs. But I found myself listening to a beat, creating a song, and then wanting to perfect it, and then I wanted people to listen. That is how I found myself back into the music world and came back home," he said.

With the blessings of his parents, Nyashinski returned to Kenya in 2016 before making a comeback in music months later.

His comeback was marked by his song Now You Know, which became a fans' favourite. He has since released many more hits including Malaika, Bebi Bebi, Mungu Pekee and Hello.

He has also done collabos with popular artistes, including Sauti Sol, and released his Lucky You album, which he is still promoting.

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.