“The beasts who did this to Angela must pay!” I once organized a riot. Those who know me will tell you that the statement is an oxymoron. I normally like to stay out of trouble. Once in a while, I explode out of hiding, and this was one of the instances.
Angela was a hardworking single mother of two. She used to sell vegetables in Buruburu estate. Angela was our family friend, every night, she would pass by our house before proceeding to her house. Every time, she would come bearing one gift or another. Sukuma wiki (kales) from her leftover stock, milk, maize flour. Come to think of it, she brought me milk severally when I had little David. Sigh!
Our mud house was strategically positioned next to Nairobi River Primary School. It was the first point of arrival from the darkness that was the path from the primary school to the swimming pool. We lived in City Carton slum. People were not afraid of the darkness. Would you rather your children went to bed on empty stomachs because of your fear of an imaginary danger that lurked in the night?
Angelina was not one to be put back by fear of anything, let alone the dark. She was light herself. I still hear her soft laughter followed by ‘bwana yesu asifiwe.’ (Read with a Kamba accent) Yes, she carried her Bible everywhere. Even this day, she had her bible in her vegetable bag. She was light! Light does not fear darkness, does it?
We were used not only to her gifts. We were used to a time of fellowship together. She would make sure she stopped by to say a prayer before proceeding to her home. Her daughter had just finished high school. Her son was in primary school. He was in class six or seven (13-14 year old).
We waited for Angela to pass by, unfortunately, she never showed up. My mom and her daughter started looking for her after two days. They went to her place of business to ask if anyone knew where Angela might have gone. She went missing on a Friday.
Three days later, my mom was called to go identify her mutilated body. She had been raped, her face mutilated and her body dumped next to the swimming pool compound at Nairobi River Primary. She met her death a mere 5 minutes from our house. She was most likely gang raped. ‘Why do terrible things happen to good people?’ I asked myself such questions over and over. My mom said the thieves took her bible too.
Then anger developed! You know the lump that is lodged in your throat? I had to do something about this anger. I wrote a petition demanding for floodlights to be installed near Nairobi River. I then went door to door mobilizing signatures from women in the slum.
After collecting signatures, I went to the chief’s office. The plan was to march to Buruburu police station. The chief managed the situation. He assured me that they would conduct investigations. That the murderers would be brought to book.
We went to Kangundo to burry Angela. Her family did not want to follow up on justice. So, out of respect for their wishes, we let the matter rest.
Two weeks later, I saw floodlights installed next to our house. Whenever I go to City carton slum and see the bright shining floodlight, I remember the time when Adopt a light was all over Nairobi, yet Angela was killed in darkness. Angela’s life might have been cut short, but her light still shines brightly.