DANCEHALL queen Ninja Lipsy (real name Tendazvaitwa Chitimbe), who recently opened up on her medical condition, says being epileptic made her strong and she has embarked on an initiative to help the girl child through her music.
Ninja Lipsy rose to fame after featuring on Winky D’s song, Taitirana.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
In an interview with NewsDay Weekender Life & Style, Ninja Lipsy said she had gathered courage to openly talk about her condition as a way of bringing awareness to people that epilepsy is just a medical condition that can happen to anyone.
“I have been suffering from epilepsy from a tender age. At first, many linked it to traditional issues before I went for some tests. It took me time to go for the tests and that is only when I realised I was epileptic,” she said.
“As known in the African context, it is not that easy to come open that you are epileptic, it also took me time as I was shy too. I have tried to hide it from the public for too long, such that I would have some seizures on stage and some people would claim that I was high on drugs, but I just have to accept my condition and live with it.”
The Mababie Anoita hitmaker said it was after deep reflections that she decided to be proactive about being epileptic using her music talent.
“I told myself that if there are some people out there who are epileptic and are going through the same things I am going through, why can’t I just represent them, especially females, who have the huge disadvantage on issues of epilepsy as the can be prone to rape,” she said.
“Through my music, I am going to concentrate on women because they have the biggest disadvantage on this because some of the things they go through, like this, especially those in school, the treatment that they get, I thought of it and said to myself I need to do something.”
Ninja Lipsy recalled when she had seizures at night in town, putting her life at risk.
“There was time when I had a seizure in town at night coming from the studio. Off late, I used to feel that I might have a seizure and on the day, I texted some people that I was not feeling well and they asked me to stay where I was,”she said.
“Unfortunately, I had a seizure before they arrived. Just imagine, if I was not at a better place, something bad might have happened. So imagine someone who will not have that time to alert friends or relatives, what will happen to her at the hands of, say maybe street kids?”
The Highfield-born and bred artiste said society should not discriminate people who are epileptic because it was just a medical condition.
“Being epileptic might be regarded as a disability, yes, but when I don’t have seizures, I am fit, just like anyone else who is not epileptic,” she said.
“I look at other big celebrities like American rapper Lil Wayne and others, they have opened up about their conditions and they are making it as top artistes in the world, which shows we can make it in our careers.”
Ninja Lipsy has, however, bemoaned the shortages of medication in the country, urging the government to improve the availability of the epilepsy medication.
“We are experiencing problems in terms of getting our medication. As for me, I am actually getting my medication from United Kingdom,” she said.
“Without medication, we struggle in our line of work. So my appeal to the government is to assist us so that the medication is readily available.”
The Zimdancehall chanter said it was wiser for epileptic fellow artistes to open up so that if seizures happen, people near them know how to handle such eventualities.
“There are some local artistes, who are also epileptic just like me, but they are yet to come in open,” she said.
“Seizures can happen at any time and as for me, when I go for a concert, I usually tell those who don’t know about my condition that I am epileptic and I tell them that I don’t want more light because my seizures are triggered by lights and noise, but as for noise, I now know how to manage it.”
Ninja Lipsy said the girl child must not suffer because of lack of medication, as this might result in her being dependent on other people, in the process making her vulnerable.
She said there were chances she would be looked down upon as a sick person.
Epilepsy may occur as a result of a genetic disorder or an acquired brain injury, such as a trauma or stroke and during a seizure, a person experiences abnormal behaviour, symptoms and sensations, sometimes including loss of consciousness.