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Mali Safi Chito! How Marakwet daughter struggled for two decades

By Sammy Waweru February 6th, 2024 2 min read

Millicent Jerotich, now a household name in Kenya owing to her Mali Safi Chito hit, says she has struggled for nearly 20 years to rise to fame in the music industry.

According to the artist, achieving recognition in the music industry has been far from easy.

Jerotich, widely known as the Marakwet Daughter, revealed in an interview with a local radio station that her journey began early, composing her first song while in class four.

“When I was in class four, I sang my first song, titled ‘Asante wageni kwa kufika hapa leo, kwa hivyo mtuchangie pesa,'” shared the artist.

The Swahili song, loosely translated as ‘Thank you guests for arriving today, so please contribute money for us,’ was composed during the era of school fundraisers.

She recounted struggling with secular songs for nearly ten years and gospel music for five years before finding success with “Mali Safi Chito,” which has garnered over 7.8 million views on YouTube.

“Chito,” she explained, “is a Kalenjin word meaning a person. Therefore, Mali Safi Chito signifies a clean and good person. Anyone can be called Mali Safi Chito, whether your mother, father, child, or uncle.”

The popular hit features a chorus – “Minji Minji Lakwet” – with “Minji Minji” originating from Kikuyu words meaning garden peas, used as an innuendo for a beautiful girl, while “Lakwet,” of Kalenjin origin, typically means a child but in the song refers to a lady.

Jerotich shared that she was raised by her maternal grandfather, a military veteran of World War II turned missionary spreading the word of God.

“I was raised by my maternal grandfather. My father is alive, but my mother passed away,” she revealed.

The term “maternal grandfather” refers to one’s mother’s father.

Despite her rise to fame, Jerotich has often appealed for assistance, having been raised in a humble background.​

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