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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:   PHOTOS/VIDEO: Atlanta based Kenyan woman in dire need of help

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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PwC man who ‘fell’ from 17th floor mourned his mother for a year, cousin reveals.

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

Friends, family and colleagues are painting different portraits of Stephen Mumbo,  the Price Waterhouse Coopers Forensic manager who fell from 17th floor of Delta offices which house the international audit firm.

Mr Mumbo was born in 1977 ,was the last born of two girls and three boys in Kisumu Nyamasaria, a hot, dry and humid area where black cotton soil sucks life from a crop.

Only determined weeds survive.  In the absence of his father, Arthur Waore Mumbo, an administrator at Kemri Busia who died in 1992, it was his mother, Mrs Waore, a teacher at Nyamasaria Primary School, who had the most influence in his life.

But after his father’s death, Mumbo was brought up in Alupe, Busia, by his uncle Mzee Obura, a doctor at Kemri in Alupe.

Fred Obura, a cousin, recalls that the father died when Mumbo was joining form one and his family took him.

But “when his mother died five years ago,” recalls Fred “he snapped in the office and couldn’t work. He took a one-year unpaid sabbatical to mourn his mother.”

Indeed, that Friday morning when he committed suicide, it was the huge photo of his mother in his bedroom that he last saw when he slept, and the first he saw when he woke up.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Wakenya Marekani washerehekea na kutoa shukrani

Fred attended St Paul’s Amukura with Mumbo who was ahead of him but he recalls that Mumbo was the class prefect in form one and two and by form three and four, he was the library prefect.

“Mumbo was deeply religious and never missed church,” says Fred. Other schoolmates, too, had their own recollections.

St Paul’s Amukura was an academic giant in Busia County where it was founded by Catholic priest Father Louis Okidoi in 1962. Mumbo was the shy brain box with an awkward gait.

In the school’s achievement board, mounted proudly in the administration block, Mumbo narrowly missed being immortalised by one point. It was A- in one subject, Kiswahili, that did him in.

Charles Ekirang, his classmate, says Mumbo was expected to succeed in life since “in an age where we chased girls we nicknamed Marios, from St Mary’s Amukura, Mumbo was chasing after whoever had the key to the library.”

Caleb Etyang, a year ahead of Mumbo, says the studious boy “wasn’t a guy to go for sports or drama outings, he was much more at home in the school and the library.”

He recounts a new, beautiful teacher who drove the boys crazy when she reported, but Mumbo was unmoved with her curves.

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VIDEO: See daring officer and why Kenyans want him feted

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It is a video clip that has gone viral on social media sites, on Facebook and Twitter.

Administration Police Constable Joash Ombati is seen cornering a white car in a not so busy road in Westlands, Nairobi, where he swiftly fires in the air before ordering the suspects out and making an arrest. This looks like a well scripted scene from a movie.

Scores of Kenyans, awed by his skill, mill around the scene, urging Mr Ombati to shoot-and-kill the suspects who are alleged to have violently robbed their victim, whom they threw out of a speeding car.

Si wameangusha mtu huko wakaua. Piga ya kichwa. Ua. Gonga risasi uue. Wamalize bana. Nipatie bunduki nipige. Piga risasi bana wataenda kuongana watoke (They have already killed their victim. Shoot them in the head. Kill them. Shoot and kill them. Finish them. Give me the gun I shoot. Shoot and kill, if taken to court they will bribe their way out,” some angry Kenyan men are heard telling Mr Ombati.

But the officer that he is, Mr Ombati stays calm and pleads with the crowd: “Wachana na mimi bana, wachana na wao (Leave me alone. Leave them alone).”

The two male suspects, one of Asian origin, while lying on the road are seen uneasy, pleading with the angry mob not to harm them.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Wakenya Marekani washerehekea na kutoa shukrani

The original post on Facebook made Nyauma Mokaya says that officer on Wednesday afternoon saw a man being thrown out of a moving vehicle shouting wezi wezi (thieves, thieves).

“Mr Ombati decided to help the man, so he took a taxi and gave the vehicle a chase. He managed to intercept it at the junction of Westlands and Mpaka Road. Mr Ombati was able to recover Sh400,000, a vehicle KBJ 614J, Toyota NZE, white in colour and arrested two suspects namely, Mr Sameer Abdulaziz Kassim and Peter Kavoi Musili.”

ONLINE DEAL

The suspects have since been detained at Parklands Police Station and face robbery with violence charges.

Mr Ombati said the complainant Mr Amos Charo went to the station and reported that he had Sh732,000, and had come from Voi to Nairobi to buy cheap construction materials from people he interacted with in the online shopping website OLX.

Police reports show that the suspects took Mr Charo to Westlands to meet a man whose name was only given as Mr Patel.

“They then took the money and threw him out of the vehicle and drove off near NIC bank,” reads the police statement.

Mr Ombati, 34, hails from Kikuyu town and is a married father of two.

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ONLINE LOBBYING

Following Mr Ombati’s display of bravery, Mr Mureithi wa Lucy send an appeal to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on this year’s Mashujaa Day: “Salute to the AP cop. He should be promoted, and recognised by Matiang’i and Uhuru. Joash Ombati is indeed a Shujaa.”

Mr Nyauma Mokaya added: “As the State House compiles the list of those who should be awarded HSC awards on 20th Oct, they should also consider awarding this man for his [bravado] and sacrifice. We don’t want to see individuals like Ben Githae and Githeriman who have contributed nothing for this country.”

Hashtags #IfikieBoinnet, #IfikieMatiangi have been trending since the post went online in Kenya’s Buyer Beware Facebook page as many netizens celebrate the rare gesture by a cop, while others dared the president to learn from Mr Ombati.

nation.co.ke

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VIDEO: Tired of being white, Mzungu woman ‘colours’ herself black and adopts a Kenyan name

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A mzungu woman who turned herself black after being fed up with being white has adopted a Kenyan name after being baptized in Nyeri.

Last year, 29-year-old Martina Big, a former blonde and blue-eyed air hostess from Germany, began the journey of transforming herself into an African (black). This came after she spent 6 million shillings to have breast implants that earned her the tag “the woman with biggest boobies in Europe”. They weigh 12 kilogrammes.

In an interview in the past, Big said that she admired the dark skin of Africans and had decided to turn herself black. Last year, she underwent a life-threatening melanin injection, a procedure outlawed in countries, and completely changed her skin color.

She further made a 50-tubed sun bed in her house, to accelerate her blackness and now believes her kids will be born black. She further visited a salon that caters for African hair and got a kinky weave, in her journey to become an African.

“I compared my hair with that of other Africans in the salon. Theirs is identical to mine,” she posted on her Instagram page after the weave was sewn in.

Last month, she began her maiden trip to Africa starting with in Kenya, where has adopted an African name after being baptized in Nyeri.

READ ALSO:   Uhuru will not meet Kenyans in US as he visits New York

In a video she posted online, a man believed to be a pastor baptized her. He is heard saying, “Malaika Mkubwa, you are now a new creature in Jesus’ name”.

Martina donned a white African regalia, kneeling next to the pastor who the Standard learnt was pastor Isaac Murage of Gichira Baptist Church. Murage said he was introduced to Martina by a member of his church.

“She told me the lady wanted to be baptised, and I told them to come,” he said.

Murage denied claims that he chose the name “Malaika Mkubwa” for her. “She came with the name written down,” he says, adding that his church does not give baptismal names to its members.

Martina updated her website to reflect her newly acquired name. However, Race Equality Foundation, a European organisation that champions for racial equality criticised her attempt to be black.

“She has “limited understanding” of challenges ethnic minority groups face. Her story distracts from problems black people face,” said the group.

She has revealed plans to widen her nose and also enhance her bottoms to give it the African look.

Mwakilishi.com

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