Denno: The many challenges I’ve overcome in life – VIDEO
Gospel artiste Dennis Karanja, popularly known as Denno, has defied odds in the music industry despite being visually impaired.
In an exclusive interview with Nairobi News, Denno has narrated the many challenges he has overcome in life, including having to learn braille at a very tender age.
At that young age, he says, he couldn’t understanding why he was not using books and pen like his brother.
“At some point I really hated braille because I didn’t understand it. I stayed in the braille class for years,” he recalled.
The second-born in a family of three also says despite being the only visually-impaired member of his family, his siblings and parents never discriminated against him.
It was while in primary school that Denno developed a passion for music. He would go on to do his first album while in high school, something he says pushed him to approach media houses to seek airplay.
“When we closed school I would go to media houses and the media personalities would encourage me,” he recalls.
After completing high school, Denno enrolled at Kenya Society for the Blind where he further immersed himself into music. However, at that point in life, he says that he felt discriminated against almost everywhere he went.
“Every time I would go to a hotel, the first question I would be asked is whether I would be able to pay. This is because People with Disabilities (PWDs) are often regarded to as beggars,” he offers.
The stigma continued even after he released Mbona in collaboration with Daddy Owen. Thankfully, the song became his breakthrough in the industry.
But the journey has never been easy. Denno says there are people who still think People with Disabilities cannot deliver.
“We don’t need sympathy we need opportunities,” he says matter of factly.
Denno also admits that although he sings gospel, he resisted the temptation of venturing into secular music.
Speaking of Mbona, the father of two says the song is pertinent to PWDs and the struggles they undergo.
Having married in 2016, Denno says marriage is not a bed of roses and he has to work twice as hard as able-bodied people to make his marriage work.
He recites the initial reservations that his wife’s relatives had before their marriage on the account of his blindness.
His final thoughts? It’s high time society learnt to appreciate the capabilities of PWDs, as opposed to only focusing on their conditions and limitations.