Daniel “Sonia” Karimu
NAME ::: Daniel “Sonia” Karimu COUNTRY ::: Sierra Leone
I’m called Daniel Karimu and my artist name is Sonia. This is the name when I perform. I live here at Grassfield, Freetown. I have a small business. I don’t have the big capital to do anything bigger. So I sell small things like cokes, cigarettes and so on. I got started with comedy because I liked the art form and whenever there were contests, I took part and normally I also win.
I grew up in the streets. I left my parents when I was quite young and have lived in the streets ever since. It’s 23 years now. I worked as a labour worker and later I worked as a driver. But then I also got into criminal activities, influenced by friends, what was really bad. Luckily I left them after some time and got here to Grassfield, where I started my small shop.
What is most important to you?
The most important thing in my life is to go big and to do comedy. But what is also important to me is to help my friends and keep them from getting into crimes. The comedy works for both, it entertains people, but at the same time it also brings be costumers as they think it’s funny.
What has influenced you the most in your life?
The most important thing in my life is the comedy as it promotes myself, the comedy and my business. I’ve been in it for quite a long time. Now it is time I feel that I can go bigger and further with it.
What has been an important turning point in your life?
I was living in the streets in another part of town. I was staying there with friends and we went out stealing and robbing people. I think the biggest turning point was when I moved away from there and came to Grassfield. When I came here, I started my shop and that changed a lot. Now I’m stable and have a family. I have three children now, two boys and one girl. So a lot has changed.
What makes you happy?
I think I’m happy is when I can go further with comedy. Everytime I feel I expand my audience, it is great. I hope that some day I’ll even be able to go out of Sierra leone to perform. I also feel happy, when people don’t realize that I’m actually no real woman. That really makes me happy as I then feel that I’m good in my performance.
What are you personally proud of?
What makes me proud is that most man don’t do those kind of things and many man would be scared do do what I do and dress like a woman. And when I go to the contests I normally never spend money, because people love the performance and want to spend time with me. And everyone knows me. So that is great.
What have been the biggest struggles in your life?
One of my biggest challenges have always been finances. It’s until today it is difficult. The business is very small. It’s more or less hand to mouth and it is difficult to offer my family a good life. I manage to sustain us, but it is very difficult.
What would you change in your life, if you could change something?
What I could change in my life are so many things. I can say now, that it’s difficult to point something out, but I’m pretty sure that I will manage to change things in my life to the better in the future.
What do you wish for your own future?
I hope that in the future I will be able to bring my comedy to a bigger audience and get more attention for it. Maybe even a movie could be made that I could sell. That is a dream of mine.