Kasiva Mutua: I was once asked why I would put a drum between my legs

Kasiva Mutua: I was once asked why I would put a drum between my legs
Kasiva Mutua during the African Women in Media conference in Nairobi on July 27. PHOTO | COURTESY

For a woman to play the drums is highly regarded as a taboo in many communities in Kenya but that has not deterred Kasiva Mutua.

In an interview with CNN, Kasiva narrated how she faced a lot of criticism and opposition while growing up as a percussionist.

She says this is because of her traditional culture where women who played drums were abhorred.

“Drumming has been a subject of taboo to women in Africa, my drums have been torn in rehearsal spaces and I have been publicly called out and asked why I would put a drum between my legs,” Kasiva says.

According to her, women are perceived as sexual objects in the community.

This, she exemplifies with a time when she was questioned by a man why she would put ‘things between her legs’.

“I was once questioned how I could do that and after having that conversation, this man made me feel like I was dirty to put something between my legs. I was seen as a sexual object at that moment, and that is not cool,” she said.

Kasiva believes that drumming has never been about sex or gender.

This has led her to defy all odds and become one of the most renowned percussionists not only in Africa but all over the world.



The drumming skills that she learnt from her grandmother, led her to win many accolades: from local contests, prizes and even global recognition.

In 2014,  she was chosen among other artists to represent her country at the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington.

She further revealed that her feat begin to mark a shift in attitudes among Kenyans.: “I think we’re getting better at dropping the taboo subject and just dealing with music and entertainment,” she added.


She has also been named as a TED Fellow, giving talks alongside other global “inspiring visionaries.”

She and her blend of Afrobeat, reggae, jazz and Kenyan beats are at the heart of the Nile Project — an initiative uniting communities along Africa’s longest river, CNN reports.

“Women can do whatever they want. It’s not about gender anymore, it’s about delivery,” she concludes.

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