Of humble beginnings and making it big in music – meet Juma Kombo Ramadhan aka Chapatizo

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021 00:00 |
Juma Kombo Ramadhan popularly known as Chapatizo started off as a dancer in 2002.

Juma Kombo Ramadhan popularly known as Chapatizo started off as a dancer in 2002. The Mombasa-based artiste has grown from being a dancer, to a singer, producer and emcee as his younger brother Omar Suleiman, also an artiste, shares.

Juma Kombo Ramadhan aka Chapatizo, a Mombasa-based artiste has an easy-going personality. He is humble, but wears such tremendous charisma.

Going by his achievements, one may think he has had it easy in life. However, hard work and a go-getter attitude are attributes that have made him become the star that he is.

 Chapatizo’s journey in life was never a smooth one as his younger brother Omar Suleiman shares.

Being the sole bread-winner for the family, life was such a huge challenge for their single mother.

She was a food vendor in Jomvu, Mwamlai, where they grew up. Her work earned her the name Mama Chapati.

With eight children (seven sons and one daughter) she could not afford to cater for Chapatizo’s education after primary school level.

As the first born and being their mother‘s assistant in the trade, the name became part of him as well and when he finally joined the industry and needed a stage name, Chapatizo sounded just about right.

Omar shares that Chapatizo’s journey in music started when he was young. Though he never attended any music school, he is good and talented.

“When I was young, he was already an artiste. From what I have heard, his passion for music was first discovered when he was in lower primary.

Chapatizo and his younger brother Omar Suleiman.  Photo/PD/jASMINE ATIENO

I can’t share much about his school life because well, we attended different schools in different time space.

But at home, he was a bit of a thick skin, in a positive way. He knew very well what he wanted and what he needed to do to get there.

Another thing is that he had so much love to share, he loved people and the love was mostly reciprocated. I believe this has made his journey easier,” shares the younger brother.

Professionally, Chapatizo’s journey in the entertainment world officially began in 2002 when he became sensational musician Nyota Ndogo’s dancer, who was doing exceptionally well during the time.

This became an important gateway into his singing career - Nyota Ndogo recognised him and did not hesitate to support him.

So, he started, first under the name Helo Boy before later transitioning to Chapatizo. He then grew to be a producer and an emcee.

Gaining popularity

“He started doing music in Jomvu as Helo Boy at around 2003 before he changed his name to Chapatizo.

He was greatly talented and it was not such a struggle selling his music out. Even without channels such as YouTube, he still gained popularity fast all over the country and equally in Tanzania.

Our mum was also supportive because she could see that he was talented and with his mind made up on doing music, there was no stopping him.

Despite having worries, she still supported him and he proved to have it together to date,” says Omar, also an upcoming musician. 

As a younger brother and an upcoming artiste, Omar has not done as much musically compared to him, but he shares that the star is his favourite big brother.

Wanting to follow in his steps has brought them even closer and he has been part of some of his great musical moments in the industry.

“There might be a lot of good moments he has had in life, but for me, one of the best is every time he is in the studio.

It is amazing and the energy around him is always good and just fun. That and when he is performing on stage.

His shows are not just ordinary; he is the real deal in comedy, entertainment and just stirring up fun! Everyone always feels good around him,” he says.

Being in the industry has not been a walk in the park for the star. There has been a lot of challenges, as the younger brother and artist intimates.

The biggest and the one that greatly affected him is when a fellow artist betrayed him and took over ownership of his content.

Fraud betrayal

“He once supported an artist and they did a big song together- Kamua Leo. I was there through the creation of the song, so I know all the parts he played.

He wrote the lyrics of this song, produced it and shot the video, but the guy went behind his back and changed everything including copyrights and this affected him.

Eventually, he accepted it and moved on. The other challenge is that the industry has changed from what it used to when he came into the limelight.

A lot of things have evolved and I think he needs to take some time, settle and learn the new ropes so he can stay top of the game. Management is also a challenge.

Nowadays getting a good manager is not easy, but he has been doing things by himself with excellence” shares Omar. 

Another challenge, he says, is the responsibilities that come with being the first born and family man, but that he has fully owned and played his role and humbly so.

In addition, he has observed that people make things hard for him by assuming that it is easy to achieve what he has, while expecting more and this sometimes puts a lot of pressure on him.

Humility though, is his strongest trait and has got him through a lot of these challenges.

“He is humble; he knows how to live with people. It is really hard to even hear negative talks about him. He holds no grudge.

He lets a lot of things pass. If there is an issue he is always ready to work it out. He is genuinely easy and loving.

The attributes have also have a positive impact on me, to have a personality that cannot be negatively influenced or corrupted by things happening or done around me,” says Omar. 

In the years to come, the artiste is sure that his big brother will be one of the biggest brands in Kenya.

He is well organised and ready to release a lot of quality projects, which he has ready including music.

Meanwhile, he is his best big brother, a father and equally a role model and he can only wish him a long life and good health. 

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