#WCW: Interesting details about Hot 96 FM’s Shixx Kapyenga that you did not know


Nancy Wanjiku Karanja is vibrant, talented and real PHOTO/FILE
Nancy Wanjiku Karanja is vibrant, talented and real PHOTO/FILE

If I could describe Hot 96 FM presenter Nancy Wanjiku Karanja in just three words, I would pick: vibrant, talented and real.

Vibrant because you cannot help but notice her aura and presence every time she walks into a room; talented because she can switch roles at the click of a button and real because she is proud of her background – one that many would not.

The third born in a family of four (one boy, three girls) shared with Citizen Digital exclusive details about her life.

Shixx was born and raised in Kangemi

“I grew up in Kangemi where I had a normal childhood. Many people think I was a stubborn kid, but no. I admit to being cheeky though. I did literally everything that a person who grew up during those ages did. I ate mafifi leaves, I played with soil; anytime it rained, I would go out to play… I also played the role of a kid in kalongolongo because of my petite physique. I was polite nonetheless.”

She is a Kangaru Girls’ High School alumnus

“I studied at Westlands Primary School before later transferring to Good Samaritan Primary School in Nakuru; I sat for my KCPE at the former. I was admitted to Mirithu Girls’ High School and later completed my secondary education at Kangaru Girls’ High School.”

She is a gifted volleyball player

“I was good in all-round sports but very skilled in volleyball. I remember the first time I played for Kangaru Girls’ we made it to the provincial levels for the first time – I acknowledge teamwork played a part in it.

“I played as a booster (setter) and striker and not as a middle blocker because of my height. If I were ever required to occupy that position (middle blocker), I would swop with a taller teammate.

“It has been a while since I played volleyball because of my tight schedule. Given a chance, I would love to go back to the pitch. I also played: football, table tennis, basketball, netball, athletics and badminton. The only sports I did not engage in were hockey and handball. I had seen a lot of my colleagues losing their teeth and some suffering broken limbs during hockey matches.”

Her high school dream was to join Malkia Strikers

“I did not have those mega dreams in high school – all I remember is that I wanted to join Kenya women’s volleyball team (Malkia Strikers).”

She did not join Malkia Strikers, what happened?

“(Laughs) what happened… I joined theatre. I realised I had a talent in acting much later in high school.

“I got to learn of my giftedness in acting one day when we had inter-dormitory drama competition that I took part in. After completing secondary education, I joined the theatre and ever since, it has been a success.”

She acted as ‘Baby’ on Shuga TV series

Nancy featured in a key storyline about rape when her character, Baby, was attacked by a trusted older relative.

“There are many people who are suffering in silence; especially when it comes to matters love, sex and money. And by sex, I mean: there are some victims who are sexually abused and choose to keep it a secret because they don’t have the courage to report the incident; they are scared of stigmatisation.

“For me, being given the chance to show what people go through meant a lot to me – it highlighted what 50,000 plus women go through.”

But wait, what inspired her to audition for a role in the television series?

“I had heard that Idris Elba was coming to Kenya and that he was going to feature in Shuga. Not that I wouldn’t have wanted to audition for the mini-series, but the fact that one of my favourite actors was coming to the country, and that he would play a role inspired me to go for the audition.

Elba did not feature. How did Shixx feel?

“I was very disappointed… the statement is ‘very disappointed’!”

Nancy says she can adjust to any role assigned to her – and that the key pillars in making a great actor are being attentive, disciplined and ready to explore.

“Never say no, until you try it out; or until you have heard the other side of the story, that is my slogan.”

How did her parents think of her erotic acting in Shuga?

“Well, our parents belong to a different generation from ours. Some of the scenes were not pleasant to them. Apparently, they did not watch the whole episode, but they were told by friends. To date, they have never watched Nairobi Half Life, and I wouldn’t want them to watch it.

“They support my projects very much, but honestly when it comes to Nairobi Half Life, I know they won’t stomach the script, acting… I think it is best if they don’t see some things until they are ready to.

“It was fun acting in a brothel setting; it was fun featuring in a project that was directed by Kenya’s top film director David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga.”

How did the name Shixx Kapyenga come about?

“We had gone into the ghetto for a shoot with Radio Jambo presenter Mbusii. He told me since my name is Wanjiku I adopt Shixx (for a short form) and Kapyenga (a sheng word to mean small) because of my tiny physique. And the name is big today; credits to Mbusii and comedian Churchill.”

About being perceived as a ghetto girl – has it affected her interaction with people?

“People often have the perception that ghetto girls cannot speak in refined English, but it doesn’t matter where you come from – just like Lupita Nyong’o said. Just because I am a ghetto girl who speaks a lot of sheng does not mean I would bump into you in the streets and beat you up, or rob you of your money.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t effectively deliver in a script written in English – I also went to school, I know little if not quality English. People shouldn’t judge you based on where you come from or how you talk. The name ‘ratchet’ most times comes from baseless judgment.”

Any regrets in life?

“No, not at all; I am very grateful for every experience that has come my way.”

She enrolled for a degree in college recently, which course is she pursuing?

“I am pursuing a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Communication at Daystar University. I love the experience, especially now that I have experience garnered from my job as a radio presenter and television production… so far, so good.”

Her perspective about Kenyan men…

“They are not bad. I have in several instances come across the phrase: ‘all men are dogs’. I beg to differ, not all men are bad.

“The few Kenyan men that have hurt women do not necessarily represent the entire population of Kenyan men.”

Why it is difficult to spot her in a weave?

“I like my natural hair and mostly prefer braiding. I’m not saying women look less attractive in weaves. I am not just comfortable in them because of the heat that emanates beneath them. Being a tomboy, you would often spot me dressed in a pair of jeans trousers, T-Shirts and sandals. Embracing my feminine side depends on the moods I wake up in.

“When I go to church (Consolata Shrine) every Sunday, I try very much to wear dresses.”

Her three key pillars…

“God, family and friends.”

Is Shixx dating?

“No. I have been hurt in the past and I wouldn’t want a repeat of the experience. I am not ready to commit at the moment – there’s a lot I am chasing now. When I decide to date, I will prioritise someone who is understanding and makes me happy.”

 

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