And So What ? – Rev Azigiza Jnr asks
Let’s admit it, the Ghanaian society loves negative stories about our personalities and is always on the wait for the next scandal.
And that is perhaps why when a secular artiste becomes born again, many wait with morbid curiosity for a slip up.
Well, there have been others who have given the public a lot to talk about (Ofori Amponsah comes to mind) but not Victor Kpapko Addo known in showbiz as Azigiza Jnr who has since he gave his life to Christ years ago, managed to stay scandal-free and is inspiring others.
It’s unbelievable but it’s been 20 years since he turned his back on all things secular and he is thankful to God for that milestone. So how has he managed to stay so strong and hold on in the face of all kinds of temptation?
“It all boils down to wisdom. There is a difference between Christianity and foolishness my sister.
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Some people think because you have become a Christian, you are not vulnerable and they just live carelessly but that is wrong.
“I had to change things to stay grounded, I changed friends and changed my lifestyle. So you won’t find me at certain places and at certain times.
That has stuck with me till date and if you don’t find me in church or the office I am home,” he told Showbiz recently.
He may be doing great now but he didn’t have it easy in the early years and had it not been for his determination, he would have given up.
“In the early days, I was torn. The people in the church didn’t want to accept me, while those in the secular world also rejected me and I didn’t have any spiritual guidance so it was tough. I hit rock bottom too;
For seven years I went without a job and I was totally broke so many times.
It became very bad but that was also the time when I heard the voice of God and He spoke audibly to me and promised to bless me,” he said.
He later started an advertising agency which has handled campaigns for several organisations and according to him, things are much better now.
Rev Azigiza’s story is a familiar one but for those with no idea, here is a refresher. In the 90s, Azigiza Junior was the ‘ish’ like they say. He was on top of his game as a DJ (he played at big nightclubs in Accra like Miracle Mirage, the Golden Egg and Glenns) and a radio presenter on Joy FM where he hosted programmes like Joy Beach Jam as well as Guinness Music for Your Dancing Feet on GTV, Video Vibes and the Azigiza Show.
In 1993, he was crowned the Best DJ on the continent.
He was also a successful singer with hit songs like Me Do Wo Abena, Kponkpa and Wo Y3 Bia which featured Tic Tac.
Everything was on the up and up including with the ladies until in 1998 he made a shocking announcement, he had become born again. He left and did not look back.
“I would say I was ‘arrested’ by the Holy Spirit. It was a gradual realisation because all the things I used to be interested in didn’t appeal to me anymore.
I used to smoke a lot but cigarettes became bitter, I used to be a big player and had a number of sugar mummies but I stopped pursuing them, I stopped clubbing and distanced myself from my friends,” he disclosed.
His chequered past and experiences motivated him to come up with the Azigiza Mentors You initiative.
This is a mentoring fellowship where participants are guided on various issues like relationships, sex, masturbation, the power of positive thinking, entrepreneurship.
Rev Azigiza says he wants to use his mistakes to teach others to avoid the pitfalls.
“I didn’t have the guidance I needed when I was growing up. I ran away from home when I was 14 and lived on the streets because my mother wanted me to be a doctor and I failed in Maths and was afraid of blood.
“She refused to let me pursue that showbiz career because she didn’t want me to be a public spectacle. I became exposed to sugar mummies, young girls, I smoked and did all the bad things you can imagine and that is what I want others to avoid. Looking back, leaving home was one of the most stupid things I have done because of what it exposed me to,” he said.
The particpants of Azigiza Mentor You are varied and include students, career men and women and anybody above 18 who wants some direction in life.
According to him, the discussions are frank and nothing is held back and he keeps in touch with them even when they graduate. The second batch of participants who number 65, will be graduating soon.
Currently an Associate Pastor with Living Streams International where he has been for the last 15 years, Rev Azigiza says he feels fulfilled trying to steer people right.
In a few weeks, Rev Azigiza will be launching his book titled And So What which chronicles his rise, his fall and rise again.
The title alone should give an indication that this is a book that will impact people’s lives.
“When I became a Christian, I was ridiculed by people in church. I remember a woman who decided to leave church because someone like me was there.
I have gone to places to preach and people have scorned me because of my past. I want to use this book to liberate people who have nailed us to our past.
“So I’ve done all bad things imaginable, and so what? That’s why I gave it that title.
My past shouldn’t matter. God can use anybody and I want people with a past not to think that nothing good can come out of them. We shouldn’t be shamed because of our past,” Rev Azigiza said.
Renowned preacher, Rev Eastwood Anaba wrote the foreword of the book which Rev Cephas Amartey formerly of Joy FM edited with support from Author Ralph, who has several books to his credit.
“My wife encouraged me to write this book and I typed every word myself because I wanted to be the one telling my own story. I kept it real and I shared stories that I have never shared,” he disclosed.
And So What is currently available for pre-order on his website www.azigiza.com.
If there is one thing that Rev Azigiza got right, it is his marriage.
He has been married to his wife, Gertrude who he affectionately calls Trudy for 16 years and credits her for holding him up.
“My wife is amazing and I am lucky to have her. When we were dating, I had nothing but she stuck by me and encouraged me and today here we are.”
They have two lovely children, Jedidiah and Janelle.
His artistic talent has trickled down to Jedidiah, who he discovered could sing just last December and he tells Showbiz, should his son decide to take up a showbiz career, he will be supportive and guide him on the right path.
Rev Azigiza has recently started a fellowship called Citizens Fellowship on the Spintex Road and in just a few months, he has over 100 members.