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UNSUNG DIASPORA HEROES: Mwakilishi, Jambonewspot, Ajabuafrica

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BY MAHUGU NUTHU

“Fake news!” “Fake news!” Sadly, we are now used to waking up to anti-press rhetoric. It’s the new catchphrase. Trump’s old “you’re fired” shtick has lost its mojo. His unrelenting attacks on members of the Fourth Estate is something one would only expect from authoritarian leaders. For us Africans, harassment of media is something that sounds too familiar.

For years we have come to appreciate press freedom as the lifeblood of democracy and ironically looking up to USA as the beacon of these ideals. But that’s another story for another time.  That’s not the subject of this piece, but it makes a good backdrop. Everybody understands the power media outlets, but probably less appreciated is the power of the Mwakilishi, Jambonewspot, Ajabuafrica and dozens other online based newspapers. Today, these are the unsung heroes in our community.  The proof is in the pudding.

In a recent case in my own backyard, a family lost a young son in a road accident out of state. By Gosh, no parent should have to bury a child. We know it is not the natural order of things. That’s pain. Excruciating pain and sorrow. But God giveth and God taketh away.

It’s even worse when this happens abroad. As if death is not enough a blow, its followed by unimaginable bureaucratic tangle of paperwork and logistical nightmare. Consequently, the family needed assistance to move their son hundreds of miles to their state for a memorial service and then send him thousands of miles to his final resting place in Kenya.

Mr Mahugu Nuthu. PHOTO/COURTESY

The committee had to reach out quickly to raise the funds though social media and traditional ways. Unsurprisingly Mwakilishi, Jambonewspot and Ajabuafrica opened their pages. They responded quickly. Cases like this proves the importance of community press and the useful role these websites play in supporting the information needs of the Kenyan in USA.

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When it comes to tragedy, they do things that you won’t get from a monolithic newspaper in terms of turnaround time, reach and cost. Their results are very tangible and observable almost instantly, something you won’t get from the so called mainstream media.

These community websites do not usually charge for death notices and you reach a lot of Kenyans. Consider that one-day listing of four lines in a “national newspaper” will cost you several hundred dollars. And you might end up not reaching the people you are targeting.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not actually about money. It’s comforting to know that you don’t have to deal with the advertising department of a soulless intractable entity.  Mwakilishi, Jambonewspot and Ajabuafrica operators understand our community because they’re a part of it. Nobody is immune to tragedies. For the record I don’t know these people personally. But their actions show that they do not merely serve as information providers. Sometimes “death announcement” means “financial help is needed ASAP”.

Only a Kenyan living in USA would understand that and urgency of the situation. New York Times might not. That’s how we handle things. We scream across the country albeit digitally. We are the ones who discovered the “digits” by sending smoke signals piece by piece across the ridges thousands of years before it became “on” and “off” that computers use today. It was stolen. But I digress. I will leave the “alternative facts” to the “post truth experts!”

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While we are on the “appreciation” subject, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the role of Kenyan Churches in USA. They have become the glue which holds our community together. In times of tragedy, hardship and sorrow, as in the above reference case, the local churches become sanctuaries of hope. Allow me to pull another Kansas City Metro backyard example.

Neema Community Church is rooted deeply in its community, and has its membership operating as de facto public servants. Located in Olathe, Kansas, it’s a huge beautiful sanctuary with classrooms, meeting rooms, offices, recreation areas, a large fellowship hall and huge kitchen attached to it. Well, and lots of parking to boot. Under Pastor, Rev. David Nzioka, it’s a community center dealing with needs that go beyond the mission of a traditional church.

A place of worship where local homeless escaping freezing nights often get free food. In a time of crisis thousands of miles from home you are bound to find fellow compatriots here looking for the elusive answers to their many “whys” and seeking comfort in each other. It’s the iconic sacred tree where Africans worship, meet and greet

.  After a year of polarizing elections that rekindled ethnic tensions, it’s very encouraging see Kenyans remaining united at that level. Tribal lines become effectively blurred.  It takes a dynamic, charismatic and inspirational leader to accomplish this. I hope you find your own fashion of “Dr. David Nzioka” in your neck of the woods.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan Diaspora mother and two kids who died in suspicious house fire buried

Back to my subject as I conclude. I understand there are many diaspora news websites whose primary mission is to cover the important issues that affect the Kenya community in USA. Many showcase community businesses for a fee. Yes, they are businesses themselves. They are not obligated to carry your message, however sad. They choose to do it.  While I did not mention them all by name, my biggest hope is that you will continue to support them.

These media outlets make our community better just because of their dedication to it.  Same case applies to our community churches and pastors. We should let them know that we do appreciate what they do. Although we are spread across this continent-size country, sea to shining sea, they make us a cohesive Kenyan community.

By Mahugu Nuthu | nuthology@gmail.com. Mahugu is the author of the book Nuthology.

 


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Africa

Kenya Airways to resume NY direct flights on 29th November 2020

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Kenya Airways will resume direct flights to New York on 29th November 2020 after a seven-month hiatus occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, the airline was slated to commence the New York direct flights on 31st October 2020 but has since extended the resumption date due to increased cancellation of flight booking to the city.

According to CEO Allan Kilavuka, early bookings for the October 31 flight had registered a 40 percent cabin factor load. The airline plans to operate two weekly flights on Sundays and Wednesdays and gradually increase the frequency to three flights subject to demand.

In this case, Kenya Airways says that the three flights will run on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The direct flights to New York launched in 2018 and by October 2019 had completed 594 trips to and from New York and flying 105,084 passengers.

Kenya Airways has been keen to resume its former routes following opening of international flights in major cities across the globe. For instance, the airline resumed the Nairobi to Mumbai flights plying the route thrice a week.

The onset of the pandemic saw the airline’s revenues fall due to travel restrictions and lockdowns that reduced network activities connecting the home market to key cities. In the first six months of 2020, total income fell by 48 percent to Ksh30.2 billion compared to Ksh58.6 billion recorded in the six months to June in 2019.

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The effect of the pandemic was evident in the 55.5 percent reduction in passenger numbers to 1.1 million in the six months compared to 2.4 million in a similar period last year. The drop in revenue saw loss for the period rise from Ksh8.5 billion in H1:2019 to Ksh14.3 billion in the H1:2020.


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Ginimbi had planned his burial, including dress code, VIP tent and guest list

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Flashy Zimbabwean businessman Genius Kadungure, popularly known by the sobriquet Ginimbi, had fully planned how his burial will be conducted several months before he died on Sunday, November 8, 2020, his sister says.

Ginimbi, 36, died after the vehicle he was driving, a Rolls Royce Wraith, collided head-on with a Honda Fit in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Following the crash, Ginimbi’s car hurtled off the road and hit a tree, sparking a huge fire that engulfed the entire vehicle, instantly calcining the three trapped occupants to death.

Ginimbi had been rescued from the driver’s seat by well-wishers, but succumbed to his injuries a few meters from the fire scene.

The other three, who died in the accident, include fitness enthusiast Mimi Moana, her female friend Elisha and Ginimbi’s friend Limumba Karim.

Mimi Moana was celebrating her birthday party on Saturday night, hours before she was involved in a fatal crash alongside Ginimbi and two others. [PHOTO | COURTESY]

The four had Saturday night celebrated Moana’s birthday at Dreams Nightclub in the capital Harare, and were on their way to Ginimbi’s home when the accident happened.

Elisha also died in the Sunday morning crash. [PHOTO | COURTESY]

The crash occurred at Borrowdale, a residential suburb in the north of Harare. The neighbourhood forms the most affluent and prestigious residential area in the whole of Zimbabwe, online search shows.

Following news of Ginimbi’s death, his eldest sister, Juliet Kadungure, has now come out to reveal that her flamboyant brother had fully planned his burial months in advance.

“Genius was a fun-loving character,” Juliet told The Herald, which is the largest daily newspaper in Zimbabwe.

“He always reminded us about how he wanted his funeral to be conducted. In fact, he had a plan and always said ‘ndiri big’, so make sure on my funeral, you do not hurriedly bury me,” said Juliet.

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According to Ginimbi’s wish, all the people who will attend his burial penciled in for Saturday, November 14, 2020 must be dressed in white attire. The dress code is synonymous with Ginimbi’s trademark dressing for the lavish parties he used to host.

Juliet said her brother used to tell them that he wanted a big burial ceremony.

“Take time, planning for it. Check my requirements well and one of the things is that I want everyone who will be at my funeral to be dressed in all white, no matter who. Please, make sure you emphasise that, remember, I am an all-white guy. The all-white should be on the day of burial.”

Juliet said according to the plan left by Ginimbi, they will have to wait for his foreign-based friends to arrive for the ceremony, failure to which, the event should be postponed.

“He would say: ‘make sure you get in touch with my other friends abroad and wait for them to come,” said Juliet.

“That is why we are saying for now the funeral will begin on Thursday, [November 12] and for now people are gathered at our father’s residence which is 400 metres away from Ginimbi’s mansion.

“We have set up a tent because there are lots of people coming from all walks of life and we could not accommodate them at the mansion.”

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Juliet said there will be two tents pitched for the wake.

“There will be a tent for friends and fans, then a VIP tent,” she said.

“Ginimbi will be buried on Saturday, [November 14] in his yard as he wished to. It is very difficult for us as a family and we kindly request the public to respect us and avoid spreading malicious rumours.

“For now, we have put a family spokesperson who is Clement Kadungure. Anything you hear which is not from him, is not true.”

Juliet said the family was not stopping people from mourning Ginimbi at his mansion, as being reported on social media, but the reason why the funeral was on the other side was to accommodate everyone.

“You may think the yard is big, but it is not big to accommodate everyone as you know many people are coming,” she said, adding: “Like I said, we decided to pitch tents at the open space near my father’s house. It is also for the security of the house.”

Juliet said Ginimbi always wished for his house to be turned into a museum or a hotel upon his demise.

“We are going to invite some local artistes so they will perform on Friday, [November 13], when his body lies in state at his mansion,” she said.

“Remember, Genius owned G-Entertainment where he promoted some local artistes, so we will do his wishes and they will also be dressed in white.”

READ ALSO:   Kenyan Diaspora mother and two kids who died in suspicious house fire buried

Chief executive officer of Ginimbi’s G4K security company, Dr Peter Gwaza, said some people were coming with the intention of stealing Ginimbi’s property.

“We have already caught two people who had stolen plastic chairs,” he said. “Again, the house has a lot of property that needs to be protected. I respect the decision by the family to have the funeral outside the mansion.”

Who is Ginimbi?

Ginimbi had interests in oil and gas business. [PHOTO | COURTESY]

Genius Kadungure had business interests in gas and petroleum. It is reported, in a section of Zimbabwean media, that he owned several filling stations in the capital Harare, and other parts of Zimbabwe.

However, it was alleged that he engaged in fraudulent activities to defraud wealthy Zimbabweans and South African businesspeople.

Ginimbi was popular on social media platforms, particularly Instagram, where he had over 650,000 followers and 644 posts at the time of his death. On the social networking pages, he flaunted the “good life” he lived, including posting pictures of the high-end vehicles he bought nearly on a yearly basis.

Some of the car brands Ginimbi owned include Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, Range Rover, Ferrari, Bentley, among others.

Ginimbi hosted multi-million-shilling birthday parties annually since 2009. In March 2018, he paid Nigerian artiste Davido to perform in Harare.

In Kenya, Ginimbi was a friend of socialite Huddah Monroe.

In Uganda, Ginimbi enjoyed a close relationship with socialite Zari Hassan’s late ex-husband Ivan Ssemwanga.


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Why Kenya Airways postponed resumption of New York flights

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On Saturday, October 31, Kenya Airways announced that they had postponed New York flights’ resumption. Through a notice, the airline said the decision to postponed the flights was informed by the increased cancellation of flight bookings to New York. The resumption, which was set for Saturday, was postponed to November 31.

“We regret to announce that due to increased cancellations of flight bookings to New York City, we have pushed back the resumption of our service to this destination to November 29. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused,” read the statement.

The national carrier last operated the passenger flights using the route in April after disruptions by the Covid-19 pandemic. Kenya Airways resumed international flights in August after suspending all its operations in March following the government’s directives on Covid-19.

Kenya Airways inaugurated direct flights to the US in October 2018, cutting the journey to 15 hours. In October 2019, KQ flew at least 105,084 passengers after completing 594 flights to and from New York.

by Standardmedia.co.ke


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