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read the full story
My name is Blakker, I am 23 years and I am a rapper at Kakuma Refugee Camp. I was born in Uganda but I am South Sudanese. I moved to Kakuma in 2004 when I was 5 years old. I started rapping when I was 4. My mom taught me how to rap after seeing that I had talent. I liked dancing and singing. My favourite rappers are Tupac Shakur, Jay Cole, Octopizzo and king KaKa.
My biggest idol is Octopizzo because he is the one who started funding here in Kakuma to support rappers abd they have become successful. I’ve seen him perform at the camp several times. I relate to him because he came from a life poverty to success, from zero to hero.
We artists have so many challenges here. There is a lot of talent but no promotion of our music and no funds to record in studio. A friend of mine who is a producer, helped me to record my first audio. The name of the song was “Level Up” and it was about the elevation of refugee youth. I rapped about victory and moving up from underground.
I have experienced that many youth here at the camp are talented but because of lack of support, their talent is demolished. They become depressed, do drugs to cope and they end up doing nothing.
I’ve seen depression in the youth because of poverty and living a hard life. Apart from the UN, there is no support within families. Some youth take to the streets and involve themselves in drugs, they lose possibilities and they forget about their dreams.
There is a lot of alcoholism here in Kakuma. Many youth engage themselves in alcoholism and leave their homes. When they become addicted, they need money for alcohol but they are unemployed. So they take money from their families and are kicked out of their homes. And they live on the street.
Here in the camp there is little to no mental health support. If a youth wants to join a support group or see a counselor they can’t.
When I am depressed and stressed I think about my future and forget about my past. I know I am going to be someone in the future.
I also have a friend Ezekiel Arechbai who is the producer of my first music video. When I am feeling down I talk to him. He gives me the good advice of my victory and how I should focus on my music and my life.
I’m a youth I focus on my future. All I require is victory that is my pleasure. It doesn’t matter where you come from. It’s good news you’re going on the right way