DESPERATION DROVE ME INTO MUSIC-- KORKORMIKOR
Deinbofa Okoto is his name, but he has chosen to be called Korkormikor (which he says means the good, the bad and the ugly in ghetto language).
He is from the dirtiest of slums; but before you think of ridiculing him for that, he would be first to confront you with the truth about his ghetto life.
Remarkably, Korkor has strong vocal chords, and the guy may rise to become a musical wonder some day.
But it is yet not easy for him. This is one guy who has experienced poverty in the real sense of the word. He grew up on the streets in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Korkormikor has been to hell and back.
He said he had witnessed death first hand, seeing innocent folks gunned down by stray bullets from rival gangs. He lost his elder brother to cult clashes and, quite often, he has seen gangs battling openly for supremacy, often through the barrel of a gun.
By the time Korkor was just 10 years old, he had already started hustling, doing menial tasks like crab fishing and selling sand. He later got involved in bunkering, selling marijuana for a living and eventually getting hooked on to the weed. He later got into music.
Having lost his father at a very young age, he was raised by a poor, sparsely educated itinerant mother. Korkormikor had to struggle to survive. But he couldn't stay out of trouble.
“Due to what my mother was going through, I was always careful not to bring her pain. But surviving was difficult. At a time, we were living in an abandoned building where all the kids sold marijuana to make money,” said Korkor, who admitted he had been hooked on the herb ever since.
Initially, Korkor concentrated on his books and was able to get admission into Rivers State Polytechnic. But as the hardship bit harder, the guy had to quit school.
“I got admitted into the polythecnic. But I had to drop out because I couldn't pay my fees,” he said.
Left with a bleak future, a helpless ageing mother and regular supply of marijuana, Korkor saw himself and scores of youth around him wasting away. He saw the society and government looking the other way as poor kids and their families managed to survive each day in the ghettoes of Port Harcourt. He had heard of ghettoes in Mushin and Ajegunle, in Lagos; Soweto in South Africa and Brooklyn in New York.
He was living in his own country like a refuge- surrounded by bins, waste, prostitutes, drugs, guns and nursing a lot of bitterness. With a wrap of marijuana dangling between his thick lips and tears rolling down his cheeks, Korkor understood what it meant to be the walking dead.
But all hope was not lost. He knew he was blessed from above with a good voice. Instead of rotting away and thinking of when manna would fall from heaven, he decided to put his talents to use. Thus, he went into the studios and came out with an album, Something for you All. He recalls how it all it started
He said, “When I decided I wanted to do music, I knew God wanted to use me to draw attention to what's going on over here. It's unfair. The politicians are increasing violence on the streets. They fund gangs so that they can use them as thugs during elections. Now it has become a nightmare even to them. You see people holding gun, fighting in broad daylight – young boys with sophisticated weapons. Youths with no idea of where their lives are heading to.
“I've passed through all that. I've suffered. I've seen violence and I know I'm lucky to be alive. I hope I make it to see tomorrow. But I don't want the younger ones and my own kids to suffer the same fate. That's why if you listen to my music, that's what I'm striving to talk about. Let the whole world see the condition we live in and tell me why humans should live so low, while the government steals them dirty.”
Korkor is hooked on marijuana. Asked why he feeds on the illegal drug, he said, “It takes me out of my problems and the stress of this world. It makes me forget what I am going through in life.”
Though he is hooked on marijuana, he advises everybody, especially the youth, to avoid it like a plague.
“I don't advise anybody to go into drugs. I know it is a matter of choice if you are an adult. But I still think it is not a good thing. I know I will stop one day. I will stop, I promise you.”