Songs usually speak to me, in every moment be it joy, sorrow or otherwise. You know that moment when you listen to the lyrics word by word and they make meaning. It is what happened on the night of 13th February, 2015. That was the Friday before Valentine when tragedy struck. My niece and God daughter breathed her last, not that she was sick or anything. In the morning she woke up was dressed for school along with her younger brother and two other cousins and they awaited a van to take them to school. Little did everyone know that it was the last time they would see her alive.
While playing on a swing unattended to, the swing hit her and breathless she lay. By the time the school tried to take her to hospital, it was too late. She was pronounced dead.
Well all this unknown to me, I was in Kampala and getting a phone call from the dad at about five in the evening, I could not believe my ears. I tried to think that he was joking, but that joke was too cruel to be told. I immediately called my aunt and I seemed to just check on her, until she told me, “You seem to be at ease, haven’t you heard what has happened, I am on my way to Mbarara”, she had just confirmed my fears. Initially I called her so she could tell me otherwise but no, Shiba was gone.
Earlier that day in the Morning, I had posted on facebook about my Marxist approach to valentines day which was the next day. I had also been looking to my Saturday ritual which is listening to Capital Gang. So the weekend was just going to be perfect, until the tragedy happened. I remember traveling with my cousin Clare who remarked, ” Life is indeed funny, imagine some people are going for Weddings and we, for a funeral”. I replied cynically,”God has a funny sense of humor, today the joke is on us”, and with that we were quiet throughout the journey.
There is nothing as important as friends in time of tragedy, I felt it first hand. After informing my online community, some friends called me and some sent me warm condolence messages. My QI family even thought the accident was in Kampala and they wanted to come for a vigil. That was priceless, perhaps one message that stood out was by Kuyang Logo Mulukwat, a South Sudanese Friend whom I have never met but we interact on Facebook. She actually sent me a friend request due to my Cynical post about the African Union, I had remarked that,”Africa’s problems are in Addis Ababa discussing Africa’s problem.” She is a Teacher of the Law and a consultant. In a inbox message she sent me(reproduced with her consent) “I will light candles for her tonight and my family will kneel and pray for the little angel…may she rest and may she be her family’s rose…and …light” that was the most comforting message, it took away tons sorrow. That was so touching.
Shiba was a girl who loved education, in the morning she would wake up in and talk about school. Her departure left a gaping hole that I will never climb out of, however hard I try. Rest in Power Shiba. Maybe Friday the 13th is after all a bad day. Maybe the myth is true. Perhaps I tell myself that your clock struck before valentines. For the reader’s Information I have never met Mrs. Kuyang, it has only been online interaction. Perhaps when Riek Ma-Chette and Salva-Kill calm down, I will visit her and her family. Shiva your candle burned out before it even shone. Your life shall be celebrated. Today, as I was watching the movie, “Akila the bee” I recalled how I would make her spell simple words in order to watch a movie, she liked,” Lion King” and used to ask me,” Uncle, how comes you are not like Scar the terrible uncle” And my reply would be, “no, you mean the world to me,I will be the best that I can be”. She would stroke my beard(by then it was strands of hair and remark, ” How comes yours are not as much as Daddy’s?” Well Shiba, the strands have somewhat grown, hehe”…….To be continued.