Female dancehall musician Jackie Chandiru, formerly one of the Blu-3 , went musically silent around 2015.

Jackie’s silence was due to down to drug addiction. Unlike many artistes and other substance abusers who use illegal narcotics like cocaine and heroin, Chandiru was addicted to a prescription opioid—pethidine. She would administer it by injection.

“Due to the strength of the drug, I always felt twice as energetic and with zero pain whenever I used it. And because of this, I started relying on the drug even for the slightest of body pains,” Ms Chandiru, who was prescribed the synthetic opioid to address a chronic back problem, said. “Eventually, I was held hostage by the drug.’’

The 38-year-old musician helplessly slid into the abyss of drug addiction for over four years. It was not until 2020 that she sought help in Nairobi, Kenya. With the persistent help of her family and ex-husband, Ms Chandiru was flown to Kenya for rehabilitation. This followed a series of failed rehab interventions in Uganda.


Jackie Chandiru: Mowzey Radio took me to my last trip to rehab. https://mbu.ug/2019/01/30/jackie-chandiru-mowzey-radio-took-me-to-my-last-trip-to-rehab/

In a TV interview, last year, Ms Chandiru revealed that she always threw tantrums whenever her loved ones attempted to take her to rehab. She was so distressed by rehab that at one time she escaped from one of the centres she had been checked into.

‘’However, at one time in my life, I looked at how my health deteriorated and I was not just shocked but saddened,” she said in the TV interview, adding, “I knew I had to take a drastic decision to change my life for the better. When I went to Nairobi for rehabilitation, I chose to fully focus on getting better.’’

Luckily for her, while in rehabilitation, Ms Chandiru had a team that was equally committed to getting her life back on track. After six committed months in rehab, she was given the all clear and dived right back into making music.

While many felt like it was a wrong move to quickly get back into the limelight, not least because of fears of relapsing, Ms Chandiru said she needed to get back to what she enjoys best. This, she opined, would aid her recovery process.

‘’In fact, I decided not to go for any form of skin surgery to try and fix my scars, mainly because I want these scars to always remind me of the life-threatening battle I won,’’ she said.