There had been reports that Jastorina’s burial in Murang’a was interrupted by her sister who caused some dramatic scenes. Below we have an unedited account of events leading to the death of the popular actress, and what really happened during her burial.
My name is Shem Odhiambo Agunga and I am an artist, not a roach as alleged by Robert Onyango Alai. I am responsible, respectable, a hard worker and an investor. I am married to an artist manager, and a television producer. But that is not the reason I have decided to blog today. I managed to get first hand account of what exactly happened at Jastorina’s burial from one of my fellow ‘roaches’ – Irene Ayimba who was present at the burial. So take time and get the truth as it is!
Irene’s account of events.
A prophet is never recognized and as such not valued at home. This adage, is so true of artists. From the two burials. I have been privileged to attend, we have literally brought the villages to a stand still, since the turn out and the celebration of life of our fallen lad or babe has been one of a kind, one never quite witnessed before in that village of a mere ‘commoner’ who holds no title like mweshimiwa.
Of Kohadha Roy Ogolla, in January, the party was unmatched and we gave him a send off many a politician can only wish they died with their hearts beating just to see if they could come close to being celebrated in death like one 26year old boy was.
Fast forward to July 2014. It was on 30th of June 2014, Nancy Nyambura AKA Jastorina, AKA Kanyanya, was taken terribly ill, and her excruciating headache made her, even as we Waited to see a doctor at Kenyatta’s room 6 at 3am after she had been there since 1pm, attempt to get off the stretcher to go in and inform the doctor that she was in critical condition and as she staggered off into the doctor’s room, we stopped her short. I was with Gloria Moraa. I remember her retorting that usually one could go in and tell the doctor that “uko na mtu mgonjwa sana” but we led her back to her stretcher that we occasionally had to shift due to the traffic in the Kenyatta National Hospital casualty corridors. The memory remains fresh in my mind like it happened yesterday.
We held on and at about 5.30am Gloria Nyariki, myself and Kentv’s Azariah Kamau having been at the hospital since 9pm, chose to call some family members to come relieve us and take over from where we had left off. We Wete introduced to a new chapter that we weren’t prepared for that early in the morning.
We called one Caro Njambi, Nancy’s sister and explained that we were cold and tired from having been at the hospital all night and that we were kindly requesting if she could come relieve us as Nancy awaits to be seen by the doctor and eventual admission. She told us that she was on Thika road and would be with us in 45minutes. 20 minutes later she called to to inform us that she was in Murang’a and was therefore unable to make it. We were perplexed.
We sourced for possible options from her brothers who were non committal. Finally we spoke to her uncle Simon who told us that he would be with us in 30minutes since he was just waking up and had to commute from Dandora. He kept his word and we were able to leave for home and freshen up. Nancy was eventually admitted at 1pm, 24hours after she had checked into the hospital. She was admitted for 12 days and discharged on Friday 11th July. The hospital bill totaled to 38, 025 Kenya shillings which we contributed and sorted out as close friends and artists (Read Mashtaka and Jastorina actors and crew) and savings from Nancy. Caroline gave out Kshs. 6000/- but as you continue reading this article, you will realise something peculiar with her contribution. The money was sent to Hillary Mwangi, a colleague from both the Mashtaka and Jastorina television dramas, who was at the hospital to discharge her. Nancy was dropped home via a cab that had been similarly paid for by the monies from the donations.
During her recuperation at home , our actors were mainly the people who visited her to monitor her response to treatment. We cared for her and the children’s welfare. She was a sister, part of our larger family. This was manifested on 23rd July when her eldest son Steve frantically called Jackline Wamuyu and Gloria to inform them that his mum had collapsed. Note, the child did not even call Caro, her aunty. Do the math!
On getting to the house, they found her critically ill and rushed her to a nearby hospital which diagnosed her with a mild stroke. Jackline and Gloria tried to call Caroline, Nancy’s sister to come and assist with getting her to Kenyatta National Hospital. Caroline claimed that she was busy. My colleagues pleaded with her to at least aid in facilitating a car that would get Nancy to hospital but that didn’t happen. My colleagues called a few people elsewhere and by the grace of God she was successfully taken to hospital where she was readmitted. She passed on two days later in the early hours of Friday 26th July 2014, painfully the same day that the late Actor Derrick Amunga went missing.
Then all hell broke loose. Nancy’s family members suddenly turned up at the house and went on to clear all her clothes, carrying them to God knows where and immediately the conversation around who takes what from the house was rife. Mark you, there are two children left behind as orphans. No one mentioned anything regarding their future.
Artists, friends and colleagues flocked the house and the first day saw us map out a way forward and top on the list was how to make sure the the children left behind were well catered for. This was informed by the fact that throughout our interaction with Nancy for almost 6 years, she made it clear and it always showed that artists were the only real family she had, second from her uncle Simon.
But as news of her death hit the headlines and she began trending on all social media platforms, we suddenly noticed very keen interest from her ‘siblings’ who as you may have noticed from this article, had had literally nothing to do with the struggle of helping Nancy throughout her illness till her eventual death.
Now, here is a twist. Caroline, Nancy’s sister who had earlier given Kshs. 6000/- to help offset the Kshs. 38025 at KNH was very categorical in demanding that she be refunded that money and this was done. This was a confirmation that the children had indeed been left in trouble, all alone. Gloria Moraa and the KENTV crew nearby took turns in looking after their everyday needs.
Earnestly, we resolved that given the circumstances and given the fact that Nancy’s children had been left alone, all funds contributed would go towards educating the children and their general welfare since Nancy’s employer KENTV had undertaken to purchase a coffin and provide Transport for Nancy’s body only for the her mother to die the Sunday that followed on the 27th July.
We had two meeting points – Nancy’s house in Fedha and at the Kenya National Theatre. Naturally the family was supposed to be attending the meetings at the house and inform us of the updates, but as expected the only family that we were able to find more regularly was her uncle Simon.
We were of the assumption that the family would find us at Nancy’s house for briefing regularly but once they realised that we had taken a resolve to protect all the monies contributed towards a trust fund for the children, hostility was real. The fact that the money was put in a trust fund did not go down well with Caroline and her partners.
But Caroline was always full of drama. At some point I thought she would have mede a better actress than her sister Nancy. When Mike Mbuvi, the Nairobi Senator and jaguar the musician went to visit the children, Caro surprised us by turning up at Fedha and was very daring as she presented the senator with a budget of 800,000. On seeking guidance from the artists present, Mbuvi gave a donation of 250,000Ksh which he emphasised was to go towards the welfare of the children. It wasn’t supposed to be part of the funeral expenses.
This must have been the last stroke that broke the camels back! The artists went on planning and kept an eye on the Nancy’s children. Nancy’s aunty and uncle were always there to assist where they could but it appeared their jurisdiction was limited to a certain point and there was only so much they could do.
As is always our norm we organised for our own transport to Murang’a Njumbi. The teams were from K24, KENTV and a conglomeration of artists drawn from different productions in the entertainment industry with the bulk of us being actors and actresses. We set off for Njumbi on th bright and early Tuesday of 5th Aug 2014. The journey was one marked with celebration of life all the way to Muranga Njumbi, a village about 20-25 KMs from Muranga town. We finall arrived and peacefully joined the family and friends including villagers in the requiem mass. Once sacrament had been served and the hearse directed to the grave yard, we again peacefully walked the stretch to put soil to soil on our fallen princess.
The grave side was down a slippery slope and we were instructed that Nancy’s mother would be buried first and once done, we would come back and pick Nancy’s casket to take it down hill for the final ceremony. We patiently waited and once we had been informed that the burial for the mother was nearly through we started chanting and dancing in our usual style and manner of sending off one of our fallen giants. It is characteristic of artists.
And sing we did, chanting and dancing down the slippery slope. The villagers took out their cell phones that had 0.5 Megapixel cameras to try and document a historic moment in their village, and the celebrity stars in our midst gladly posed for selfies and photos with the excited locals.
“Nancy Ehh! Jastorina Ahh rara” The chants went on just encourage our brothers to hang on and manage to bring the body to the final spot, for once the casket was up we were not lay the it down until we reached the graveside. But 50 metres from the grave yard, hell broke loose.
The caro… yes! That one of Thika Road – Muranga in 20 minutes… Yes! That one of refund my 6000 shillings that I gave for clearing Nancy’s hospital balance… Yes! That one who had come to the house and picked Steve and taken him to the parternal home to claim dowry yet Steve’s father had been dead for over 8 years! Yes! That one who took 3 days to come to Jastorina’s house only because royalty was visiting and came armed with her 800,000ksh budget! Yes! That one who Robert Onyango Alai is defending vehemently citing Artists as drunkards…
Well, she allegedly was ‘overwhelmed and went on a comatose’ and as expected recovered fast. I told you, she would have made a better actor than her sister. Suddenly she acquired a surprising new level of energy and grabbed the microphone to claim that we the artists were there to bury Jastorina, while they as a family were there to bury Nancy.
Suddenly they didn’t want us at the burial ceremony! We were persona non Grata. That is when the real pain of what Nancy had gone through in the so called family’s hand and the reality that the children had been left at our mercy and ours alone checked, as tears rolled down the face of many artists we remembered how we had to get to this day and what it had taken us. All we did was wail!!!! As if the drama was just beginning, machetes/Pangas that had been concealed in the grave were brandished. Some of the youths had knives and before we knew it we were fleeing for our lives.
Steve was overwhelmed and in his weak state attempted to speak.
“Please let me talk for the last time at my mother’s grave.” He pleaded in vain.
The hostility meted upon the little lad was appalling! Someone grabbed him and covered his mouth and twisted his neck so bad we thought our son would snap his neck. All this was designed to make him keep quiet and not reveal their bad intentions. He was not to interfere but let them discipline the ‘wasanii’ uninterrupted. When things got seriously out of hand, Joel Otuko and Alliwa David worked in collaboration to quickly get us back to the vehicles in readiness to leave. When one of our artists from Planet Theatre pleaded with the family to allow the child to speak, he was quickly swept off his feet and he was on to the ground. Kicks and blows rained on him. It took one of the police officers present to shoot in the air to save him when the attackers scattered at the sound of a gun firing. David Kinyua comically took to his heels. Hillary who had been coordinating events at the grave yard was also roughed up and got saved by the gunshot.
Dennis Musyoka, who plays the character of a Judge in the drama series Mashtaka remained with the children and made sure he left the village with them that night. Pictures and videos shall follow.
I want those lazy and unprofessional journalists to start getting stories from the source and avoid getting one sided propaganda at the expense of the truth. As for the bloggers like Robert Alai who think that artists can be equated to roaches, go get a life and something worthwhile to shout about. Some of the artists have invested and earn way more than you do. Jacquey Nayminde isn’t your enemy. You are their enemies. Because the only way to deal with roaches is to terminate them. What do you plan to do with us?
If you can’t respect the artists’ contribution to Kenya’s entertainment industry, then you need to keep off their affairs and stick to political propaganda. Artists act and work like a family. They are not politicians but entertainers. They are a family. And family sticks together. They protect each other and they can never be divided! You try to break them, they shall take you head on. And this is a fight you cannot win.
Article by Irene Ayimba
Edited by Shem Odhiambo Agunga