At singer Miss Shanel’s wedding in November, his first major public appearance after leaving hospital, many of his fans and fellow musicians were visibly surprised to see Mako Nikoshwa.
While some thought he was out of hospital but still bed ridden at home, others thought he wasn’t alive.
Further still, many were seeing him for the first time without dreadlocks on his head, a fact that would fuel even more confusion.
It was an event that Mako could not afford to miss, his ill health notwithstanding. If anything, Shanel is one of those people that had tirelessly conveyed messages of hope to him for the entire period that he was in hospital battling TB.
He remembers that though living in France at the time, Shanel sent him some get-well-messages and even financial assistance during his hour of need.
“She and Liza (another local singer) actually got someone – a friend of theirs here in Kigali who they would send to the hospital to personally convey their regards.”
When Mako received a card to Shanel’s wedding, the least he could do was be there for a friend.
“I was seeing her for the first time since going to hospital, and naturally I was happy to be invited. However since she was the bride we did not talk a lot,” he says.
He had hoped to wait till the end of the wedding to have a chat with Shanel, but that was not possible as he had to leave the ceremony early because he was not feeling well. Instead, he took time off to chit-chat with fellow musicians and inquisitive fans.
A month or so later, Nikoshwa made his second major public appearance, at the Inyarawanda Fans’ Hangout at the Hilltop Hotel and Country Club in Remera on December 26th.
Organized by Inyarwanda.com, an entertainment-leaning local website, the annual gala brings together local showbiz figures and their fans in an open mix ‘n mingle session.
Like was the case with Shanel’s wedding, Mako felt obliged to attend the Inyarwanda party, and for good reasons.
First, he is grateful to the website for having been the first media house to break the news of his illness days after he had just been admitted at the University Teaching Hospital (CHUK).
At the time the website broke the news, with graphic images of the singer reduced to bone and skin — a shadow of his former self, many were shocked to the point of being scandalized. Actually, many condemned the website for being “cruel and insensitive” by splashing such gripping images of the then ailing singer.
Mako thinks otherwise. He believes that the website performed its core duty as a media house – to inform and educate the masses – in this case his fans, about what he was going through.
He believes that in the world of showbiz, “no news is bad news”.
“At the party I had improved a lot and my energy was back. I was happy to be in public again and to interact with my fans, fellow musicians and the media. People were very happy to see me again while others were surprised.”
Back to the game
Now that his life is out of danger, Mako is intent on staying on his grind – music.
And the nearly four months he spent in hospital inevitably left a huge impact on him.
“When I was in hospital I saw that many people were demoralized by my condition and many had given up hope on me surviving,” he recalls. On his side, the singer had resigned to his fate and only looked to a miracle from God.
He believes that God’s miracle came by way of the people that helped him materially, financially, morally and spiritually, and who still continue to do the same.
Shortly before he was discharged from hospital, Mako had vowed to launch his comeback with a song dedicated to his God – something through which he could express his thanks and praises to Him.
On Thursday I tagged along the musician as he went to voice the final verse of Imana ikorera mu bantu (God works through people) – his first studio project after hospital.
“As human beings we take more time to think and to talk about those who have wronged us, but we never spend much time to think about those who do good things to us.”
He adds: “When someone has been wronged he says that “people are bad” but it’s not true because not everyone is bad.”
The song also wishes to address the issue of people’s perception of God, Nikoshwa further explains: “People think of God in terms of miracles, but God performs his miracles through other people.”
The year ahead
“I’m in the mood to produce something good. To all my fans, all I can say is that they should be strong. I believe there is a reason why God has kept me alive. The situation was bad last year but now it’s promising. I thank people who helped me in any way and those who prayed for me. It’s this love I received from people that convinced me that people are good and that God performs miracles through people,” Nikoshwa says.