What strikes you first when you meet Vanessa Mdee is her beauty. She has the kind of glow that permeates stereotypes. Sure, we saw her on TV and got over the fact that she’s pretty ages ago but seeing her in person, you feel sorry for her. The cameras do not do her justice. She is lovely as lovely can be. Then her uncanny resemblance to her sister Tero hits you next. You remember Tero, don’t you? The beautiful Str8 up host who had us glued to the screens back when Str8 up was the bomb. Then she speaks and all your observations are over shadowed by her voice. She has an accented throaty voice that enunciates all her words clearly. The accent catches me off guard. Having heard her sing in Tanzanian Swahili, I did not expect a not so subtle American accent.


Turns out she got the best of both worlds having grown up in New York, Paris and her native Bongo. She can speak Swahili as fluently as she can speak English, something that undoubtedly contributed to her selection as the first Tanzanian VJ. Her life, she says, has not been as rosy as many would presume. She grew up in a large family of eight and was the middle child, something that might have propelled her to push hard for attention and not just any attention; the world’s attention. As she tells of her life’s story, I can connect the dots that led to her success. She says her father was militant and her upbringing was strict. There was no dilly dallying and lazing about, her father saw that she had the basics of discipline from day one. And the importance of discipline in music cannot be underscored.

When she speaks of her music, the passion shines through. She’s thankful to Diamond for opening up opportunities for many bongo singers. I am tempted to ask her thoughts about the Zari-Wema Sepetu drama but I refrain, asking her instead if she’s dating. She smiles at that and says she’ll with hold that information. Of course, I know that she’s dating Jux but I want to hear it from her. You can never trust tabloids. I wonder why she is being deliberately vague about it. But privacy is always a touchy issue with celebs.


About her sister, she says she’s happy and well, in the throes of motherhood and loving it. I miss that face on TV though, don’t you? The host thing seems to run in the family. Tero had just bagged the CHAT Award for Best Teenie Presenter before she went back to Tanzania and got married, breaking plenty of hearts. I hope she found happiness, though, the beautiful damsel.

Vanessa’s entrance into the music industry has been monumental. She’s just starting out but she’s already big. This is one celeb’s journey that I am sure we are gonna have a good time following.

Joe Black