Beneath her music lay a personality whose milk flows with generosity. Alhaja Gawat launched her foundation named Imole (meaning Light) Foundation last year. At the event, she was reported to have fed a hundred and twenty widows. The foundation helps to feed and empower the needy and less priviledged most especially the widows. “I feel more concerned about the widows because they are often neglected in the society. I believe that Allah hears their prayers faster”. Rukayat Gawat arguably towers above her peers- the dozens of Islamic singers in Lagos. As the social secretary of ISMAN Lagos State, she continues to contribute her quota and bring innovations to her music industry.
At a first glance Rukayat Gawat-Oyefeso comes to you like a privileged and wealthy lady and the daughter of the popular NTA broadcaster, Rasaq Aremu Gawat but a close encounter with her, one will be surprised at her down-to-earth and humility of the Islamic singer, something uncommon among celebrity musicians like her. Welcome to the world of the Islamic singer, Rukayat Olabisi Gawat that is making a difference in the lives of the younger generation. SAMUEL ABULUDE writes. Her Background
As the first child and daughter of Alhaji Rasaq Gawat, Rukayat was born to middle-income family in the Isale-Eko area of Lagos State. Her dad gained fame on the screen as a broadcaster on popular TV channel, NTA 10- known to sensitize Muslim faithfuls during the holy Ramadan. A name that was associated with integrity and honour. Rukayat who grew up with her grandmum at Isale-Eko never dreamt of fame like her father but just found herself being captivated by music precisely Islamic music. How then did the passion for singing begin for her? She recanted that her days during the Isale-eko when she was in Secondary school was laced with going from one Islamic forum to another as a youthful Islamic singer and one of the best at the Lagos Island. Rukayat according to her, she was courted by many Islamic society groups to spice up their programs and inspire the youths and adults alike in praising the Almighty Allah. She did this with passion and joy though her father was opposed to this. “It is very true that my father opposed me doing music then but he later agreed before his disappearance. It is a known fact that parent don’t usually want their children to go in to the entertainment world because of the obvious misconception surrounding those in the entertainment industry. Though I have passion for addressing the public either verbally or in writing right from my childhood, hence I decided to study Mass communication. I had a very religious upbringing through my dad coupled with the passion I have in addressing the public then I thought of a way of propagating my religion and I felt passing teaching the doctrine of Islam through music won't be a bad idea,” says Rukayat.
Ironically, Rukayat started singing professionally four years ago. One would have thought that she had been in the game for more than a decade, but the ebony complexioned singer who has been involved in Islamic music and a member of Islamic Musician Association of Nigeria ISMAN for a long time, released her first album titled IMOLE. Her next albums are My Father, Aye le and Ogbe Okan packaged by Okiki Films & Music Productions. Fortunately, Ogbe Okan brought her to limelight and expanded her horizon. Rukayat did not rest on her oars but worked hard in the studios digging deep into her creativity. These produced works like Agbokol’ori, Arinakore, Iyawo Obun, Ramadan Kareem (featuring twenty Islamic musicians and Nollywood actors), Alao Jowujowu featuring Sule Alao Malaika, Odun Ayo Ft Sefiu Alao and Temitope. Her music mirrors the challenges of today’s woman and how her faith in Allah helps to keep a balance. Women today are known to pursue a career as well as managing their husbands and children. Balancing all these roles could be a challenge but Alhaja Gawat says, “My music teaches woman to be faithful to their husband and take care of the home properly. Basically, the passion for my religion and it's doctrines inspires my composition and therefore my music is an extension of my religion. A favourite quote I normally post that talks about womanhood is: Learn patience from Asiyah, Loyalty from Khadijah, Purity from Maryam, Sincerity from Aishah and Steadfastness from Fatimah. That summarises my beliefs which is demonstrated by my music”.
Awards And Accolades
In four years of professional singing, the lady has carved a niche for herself and has suddenly become the leading light of Islamic gospel music. She won the City People Entertainment Awards 2016 as Best Female Islamic Artiste and at Islamic Music Award IMAN 2016, she also coveted the Best Female Islamic Artiste. Rukayat is of the belief that hardwork beat talent, when talent refuses to work hard. “I have been so dedicated to my music career and I knew someday I will get there- win awards. For where I am today, Glory be to Almighty Allah,” she noted.
Her Life Philosophy
My beliefs is based on whatever you do, do it well; because what goes around comes around. If you do good in life, you get the reward of doing good and if otherwise, it comes hurting for you in later years. Life has taught me that it takes only the prayerful and the intelligent one to sustain the shackles of life.
Aside her busy schedule as a singer and celebrity, Rukayat Gawat-Oyefeso spends most of her time with her family. She is married to Shakirudeen Oyefeso and they are blessed with two children. She says “My husband is a very understanding man who loves my career as much as I do and with Allah's help I have been able to manage my home properly by performing my duties as wife without sacrificing it for my music career. I say a big thank you to my husband for his understanding, support, love and care”. She says she would have been a great broadcaster aside music.