Beating the Odds

Chi-Chi speaks on her battle with cancer and forging ahead

Windhoek – Young, ambitious, independent, strong-willed, committed and determined. Those are just a few of the words that can be used to describe NANCY MUINJO, better known as CHI-CHI. Not only is she hardworking, she is absolutely focused and when she goes for something, she goes all the way. This week The Southern Times had an awesome interview with the full-of-life Chi-Chi – who candidly admits she is not the most talented musician around – and she talks about balancing music, school and work, and how she dealt with breast cancer.

Q: When did you start singing and what is it that drives your music?

A: I started at a very young age in terms of entertainment as I got numerous opportunities which were presented to me through my media course. I don’t think I am very talented, but I say life is about making the most of what it brings. I work hard and that matters a lot. My first single was about three years ago, I featured LM in a song titled “Put em up”. I have matured in terms of content as I have grown up and been exposed to so many things.
My music is more about reality now…But as for me, my music career is at the bottom in terms of my priorities, I take my other jobs and school very seriously. I still work very hard on it and my music is doing just ok which is good enough for now.

Q: How do you balance your life, music, school, work and all that?

A: My inspiration comes from my mom, Honorable Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana (Namibia’s Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration) as well as many inspirational men and women out there. If they can juggle this and that why can’t I? After all, the support I get is just amazing.  I enrolled at the University of Namibia and completed my Honours degree in Media and Drama and  I am now busy with my Masters degree.
 
Q: What was your reaction when you were diagnosed with breast cancer?

A: No news like that is easy to take, but through it all there are so many good things that life presents. Now I understand my situation a bit better and that’s why I am involved in this campaign of mine called “For the Cause”. We raise awareness about women and girls’ health issues and gender-based violence. It takes a lot of willpower and faith and for this reason I think it’s my way of making a contribution as God is using me in this way. So in that way it has been an adventure.
I get questions like “are you okay now?” and I am really recovering well to say the least.  I am alive – I am well just like the next person. In such situations you really need to sort out your thinking as it’s all in the mind.

Q: So you would say you are coping?

A: I had a mastectomy five years ago, to stop the cancer from spreading, but it went from stage two to four which is the final stage. But medically in Namibia we are doing extremely well so there is really nothing to worry about. So many families in Namibia have cancer patients and we should not keep quiet about it because cancer is not a death sentence. You are not going through it alone. We need to develop a culture of going for regular check-ups.  We need to read and understand the seriousness of cancer. But at the end of the day, we need to have positive attitudes and grab the bull by the horns and deal with the situation.

Q: Where to from here?

A: I am pushing “For the Cause” which is my top priority as of now as I want to raise awareness on issues affecting women. I am looking forward to excelling in other things, especially my school and career. Oh yeah, and I am especially looking forward to the elections (in Namibia) next year, I am very excited about that!

May 2013
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