I had two visually-impaired friends in secondary school and I can honestly say that those friendships changed my life.
I know we now live in a hypersensitive world — where someone can find a simple ‘good morning, how was your night?’ greeting, offensive. But back then, my innocent mind didn’t know that calling someone ‘blind’ could be considered remotely derogatory. But more important than a re-education, seeing my two friends flourish at anything in spite of their disability was inspiring. From that moment on, I grew respect for every person with disability that was able to transcend their circumstance and make something out of their lives; Semah G. Weifur is well on his way to doing the same.
Flavour discovered Semah in Liberia in March 2017 and the highlife superstar has been allowing God use him to change the boy’s life ever since.
Semah was born blind and into poverty. For years, he has been in the care of Monrovia-based NGO, Christian Association of the Blind (CAB). Life hasn’t been kind to him but young Semah hasn’t allowed that kill his spirit. In spite of his circumstances, Semah’s dream is to become a singer. Incredibly, even though he grew up over 2,000 km away from Lagos, he built a love for two of the greatest musicians the continent has ever seen.
Semah idolized Flavour and MasterKraft, the producer responsible for several of the singer’s hits, and was dying to meet them someday.
Late in 2016, veteran Liberian singer, Queen Juli Endee, traveled to Lagos to collaborate with the Nigerian duo on her new single “Atulaylay”; they established a good working relationship. Queen Endee heads a cultural group back home called the Liberian Crusaders for Peace (LCP), they travel around the world promoting peace and Liberian culture. In addition to her music, Queen Endee is a humanitarian and cultural ambassador for her home country. She has been at the forefront of numerous humanitarian initiatives since the end of the first Liberian Civil War. One of her most recent is working with the Christian Association of the Blind (CAB).
Queen Endee met Semah during a peace crusade at CAB; the 11 year old performed one of her songs, “No Shaking”, and left her in awe. During that meeting, Semah told Queen Endee of a life-long desire to meet her co-collaborators, Flavour and MasterKraft, and to also make music with them. While she made no promises, Queen Endee did pray that Semah’s dream would one day come true.
Flavour and MasterKraft visited Monrovia shortly afterwards for a concert and news of Semah’s adoration got back to the 2Nite camp. MasterKraft was the first to visit Semah, and sent Flavour several videos of the boy singing his music. Flavour was touched. Before jetting out of Monrovia, he met up with Semah.
The first meeting happened on March 21st, 2017, at an event to honour the highlife icon. Flavour was conferred with the title of Chief Zanzan of Liberia, in recognition of his ‘immense contribution’ to Africa through music. Semah was in attendance. After being introduced by Queen Endee, the visually-impaired, aspiring singer held the microphone and sang Flavour’s 2016 ode to mothers, “MAMA”. The crowd gathered around to capture the moment. Towards the end, the muscular figure of Flavour unexpectedly crept up behind Semah and cuddled him gently. It was a powerful moment; the two would be inseparable from then on.
Semah grabbed a hold of Flavour’s dreads, his face and his gold chain, anything he could find, perhaps to confirm that it was truly the Nigerian superstar. Flavour would later claim: “I made a new friend Semah G. Weifur. He’s blind and sang my songs better than me.” He might have oversold the performance slightly, nonetheless Flavour saw potential in Semah.
Fast-forward to June, 2017, when the highlife superstar released his fifth studio album, Ijele – The Traveler. It included “Most High”, a gospel duet featuring Semah, as the last track. “Most High” was released as an official single off the album, complete with a music video shot by Clarence Peters. It brought more and more people into the world of Flavour N’Abania and Semah G. Weifur, to learn about their amazing story
One song then became seven, and on March 12th, 2018, Flavour and Semah released a joint gospel EP titled Divine (all songs produced by MasterKraft). For an artist who’s made a career off of lewdness and sexual proclivity, releasing a gospel album in itself is a minor miracle. So, while Flavour might be changing Semah’s life, it’s also fair to say that Semah is having an effect on Flavour’s life as well.
Semah performed alongside his idol at the inaugural “Flavour of Africa” music concert held in Enugu at the end of March 2018. What a difference a year can make. Semah is currently an adopted son to Flavour.
However, Semah still has ways to go before he’d be considered a precocious talent; it’s far too early to declare him a Cobhams Asuquo in-the-making or anything. But for a child who was dealt a difficult set of cards to deal from the day he was born, surely things can only get better from here.