Brooklyn Vyolesa, a Kenyan radio personality is a wanderlust at heart. She has a huge target in her life which is making history as Africa’s most travelled woman.
Vyolesa had visited 112 countries across the world as of October 2022. A lawyer turned a deejay by calling, she attributes her quest to tour each country in the world to her parents who moved around the world a lot of years back.
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Who is Brooklyn Vyolesa?
She is a Kenyan by birth partly raised in Nairobi and West Africa. Her parents left Kenya in the 90s to further their studies in the U.S. Her father is a doctor who furthered his studies in Seattle, at the University of Washington. Her mother, Dr Mary Yuanita was at the University of California in Los Angeles where she furthered her studies in gender studies.
While in the U.S., Vyolesa’s parents decided to return to their Nairobi home to have their firstborn. Years later, Dr Yuanita moved to Senegal as a gender expert in public health and development working for the UN. It was Vyolesa’s first time experiencing a different culture.
“It was weird to see sand everywhere and not just at the beach, the houses were massive and didn’t really have windows because of the heat, and the women were really tall, beautiful and dark-skinned. We would also eat from one big plate. That was my introduction to West Africa,” Brooklyn Vyolesa told Nation.
After spending years in West Africa, Vyolesa’s mother was posted to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia when she was 10. However, a young Vyolesa returned to Nairobi to live with her father but flew to Ethiopia every holiday to visit her mother. At age 14, she finally grasped the beauty of travel and East Africa, Canada and South Africa ranked top on her bucket list.
At 13, she accompanied her mother to Massachusetts, US where she lectured at Harvard University in Cambridge. She loved it that she found other Kenyan women working here. Back in Kenya, she enrolled at St Austin’s Academy in Nairobi and joined the school’s basketball team which won her a scholarship to study at Peninsula University in Washington. The travel junkie would later hurt her knee and decided to return to Kenya and study law which she did.
How Did Brooklyn Vyolesa Become a Radio DJ?
She successfully practised law as a Kenyan advocate but the application of law and justice in Kenya disillusioned her and she quit for deejaying.
“It felt like someone just burst my bubble. I went into radio. I’m passionate about hip hop and I’m good at it. Kenyan hip hop wasn’t big then so I went in there and did my rebellious thing. I think I was the first person to interview some of the local upcoming hip hop artistes. Other stations started picking that up but they would ask me to send them the music since I was getting it directly from the artistes,” she recalls.
What Made Brooklyn Vyolesa Start Travelling?
Brooklyn Vyolesa spent another three years as a radio DJ but decided to start travelling in 2014 and embarked on a research spree of the best places to travel to. As a result of her research on the destinations to visit, the lawyer-turned-DJ discovered that they were affordable and not expensive as she had first assumed.
Nigeria was on top of her list. Its food, music, fashion and culture, always fascinated her. It became the first country she visited after quitting her deejaying career in Nairobi. For her, travel serves as healing. She also picks lessons from her wide travel and this triggered her quest for pan-Africanism.
Vyolesa is also aware that cross-Africa travel is expensive and it locks the continent out of many opportunities.
What Does Brookly Vyolesa Love About Travelling?
Globe-trotting has given the Kenyan wanderlust a different perspective on life. She now knows that racism based on colour is real. Germany showed her its ugly side which led to her arrest and subsequent release.
While at an eatery, someone threw a juiced pastry on her face but she calmly cleared her bill and reached for a glass bottle which she cracked on the head of the person who threw a pastry on her face. This got her arrested.
Despite this, she always makes friends wherever she travels and the warmth of the different people she meets encourages her. She has political ambitions and travel escapades, she believes, will help her help people out through proper governance.