In Summary

  • Observing Talanta as he bends to the left to use what remained of his hand from the elbow to spin the turntable as the right hand takes control of the console buttons, you get the picture of a professional DJ who loves his job and enjoys his own mix.
  • But just like he spins the turntable, life has been a back-and-forth affair for the “One-handed DJ”, as his slogan goes.

The first time he saw his own left hand after January 17, 2008 was in a picture displayed in a street photo exhibition.

He recognised it as his and was further assured that it was by the brown watch that was still wrapped around the wrist of the lifeless hand. He has no idea where the hand was taken after the shutter button was pressed.

LOST HIS HAND TEN YEARS AGO

Even though Eric Kioko lost his left hand 10 years ago to attackers during the 2007/8 post-election violence, he works as a DJ and is famously known as DJ Talanta.

Observing Talanta as he bends to the left to use what remained of his hand from the elbow to spin the turntable as the right hand takes control of the console buttons, you get the picture of a professional DJ who loves his job and enjoys his own mix.

But just like he spins the turntable, life has been a back-and-forth affair for the “One-handed DJ”, as his slogan goes. After his arm was slashed in Mathare, his wife left him, a brother who would have been of help also died and he was stripped of his ability to do some few basic things he could do effortlessly before. But not even fate could prevent him from mixing songs to the pleasure of his fans.

UNIMAGINABLE PAIN

“This is a job I love to do. Even before the violence that led to the loss of my arm, I used to be a DJ and a conductor. Again, this is what puts food on my table,” he said.

That fateful day, DJ Talanta had gone to the Mathare 17 Area 3C in Bondeni to check on his mother’s house. His mother had been putting up in a tent at a rescue centre pitched near the gate to the Kenya Air Force base on Juja Road.

“I had moved from Kisumu, where I worked, to Nairobi because chaos had erupted in Kisumu and I feared for my life,” he said.

When he arrived in Nairobi, he traced his mother and sister to the camp and had to stay with them, since he had nowhere else to go. They were later moved to the Mathare Chief’s camp, which was guarded by Administration Police officers.

“We stayed at the camp for two weeks and then when things were calm, or so we thought, I decided to go to our previous home to check on my mother’s house. Everything was intact, although many houses had been razed.

“As I was returning to the camp at around 7pm, I came across three people who were attacking an elderly woman as she cried and begged them to spare her life and not rape her and so I tried to help.I did not manage to do it, as one of them who had a very sharp machete accosted me and tried to hit my head with it. I lifted my left hand in defense and with one fall of the panga, my hand was on the ground.

I felt the panga upon my hand, then a thud on the ground .The pain was unimaginable.”

RAN FOR HIS LIFE

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