A group of sisters who escaped a deadly civil war have turned their difficult past into success as singers in Winnipeg.
The Bahati sisters were caught up in a civil war in Congo in 2002. The family fled to Uganda and spent the next 10 years trying to come to Canada.
In 2012, they succeeded and landed in Winnipeg.
“The wind, the cold – it was suffocating. I was thinking, ‘Oh my god. People really live here?” said Odette Bahati.
The sisters had a shared experience that was difficult to leave behind.
“You see blood. Obviously people are dead, right? You’re running for your life, you know. You can just tell what’s happening. Those kinds of memories don’t just disappear,” said Odette, who was six at the time.
But the sisters, who often sang at home together, turned to music to deal with their past and celebrate their future.
“I’m a grown woman, and I don’t want to be a weak person. I’m strong, and my music has made me more stronger,” said Odette.
The Bahati sisters formed the band Bahatizz and have released a number of songs.
“It’s a voice that goes beyond my foots – my feet – where I cannot reach. My music can reach there, and it can help people,” said Sylvie Bahati.
The young women are holding a benefit concert at Winnipeg’s Park Theatre on May 28 where they’ll release their newest track, La Violence.
The proceeds from the release and the concert will go to a hospital in Congo.
“People of Winnipeg, they are so wonderful. They are so loving,” said Rachel Bahati. “I wouldn’t ask for anywhere else. Winnipeg is the best.”