If you know me well then you know I’m really really talkative till I met Kathumbi. She made me an introvert 😂. With her I learnt to listen. She’d call me for three hours straight and all I’d say in the call was “Aki", “Ukweli", “Mimi ata sikujua", “waaa" or a laugh. And I loved it. She never had a low spirit.

This takes back me to the very first time I met her at Ada Labs. I was coming in for a meeting as a contestant and in the meeting I noticed that when she talked everybody listened. In my head I knew she must has been the boss or a senior employee. Weirdly she gave everyone one else a chance to share their thoughts.

After the meeting I met her at Battle Za Mtaa season one. I noticed how proud she was being different and REALLY failing to dance like the rest of us 😂 -you should watch that video btw-. She must have been raised amongst white people I thought cause of the dance moves 😂.

It so happened that we found ourselves dancing close to each other. I said hi then added, “Mtu akieza ona Twitter account yenu hawezi sema mko na furniture worth millions kwa offisi.” We laughed. Then she asked why I said that and I told her that Afya Rekod should at least have 5000 followers on twitter. That way they’ll look real. I ended up sharing a lot of information on how Afya Rekod can improve those numbers. What it can do to go have influence online and “kwa ground”. Hakuchomea kampuni yake 😅. It was getting late and she really wanted to hear me out a little more. Then I started thinking I did a lot of consultancy for free lol. I however, felt like I’d be of help to the org. in a way and this is what I knew best.

The next Tuesday I get a call from her. She wants to meet me. She wants me to meet the CEO of Afya Rekod. Waaaaaait Katumbi. Wait. What? Why?. She shares that she’d seen something in me that would be of help to the lab. That’s when I learnt it was a lab btw. I show up on Wednesday and later that evening I meet the CEO and the co-founder of the lab. This -now friend- Kathumbi introduces me. She’s done a background check and literally tells them a lot about me and it’s scary. I’m not used to it. Plus I was in a really bad place at the time. I think I was loosing myself or I had already lost me.

Flash forward she’s teaching me a few things about the lab set up. She’s excited to see me on a daily. She’d ask me to take a break with her at Tandoori. She sits where the cigarette smoke won’t sumbua me. Then talks. Kathumbi talks… she really does and I become an introvert in her presence. From her I learn so many words 😂 thank her parents for taking her to a good school.

She motivates me on a daily. She believes in me so much that I felt the energy must have been sent by God when I needed it the most.

Flash forward we meet in 2021 in her office. She’s mourning and she shares about what she’s feeling but she’s still such a vibe. Oh and she doesn’t forget to say that she’s a behavioral scientist 😂😂🤦🏾‍♀️ eish Katush. Behavioral scientist ni nini aki? Ikifika ni kazi Katumbi used to woooooork. When it comes to someone in her space starting to feel superior, Katush would put you in your place. We talked one time and she finally 😂😂 gave me a chance to talk. I talked about postnatal depression for close to 20 minutes uninterrupted. She teared. Woi I realized I was creating a sad environment so I stopped. She empathized. It felt good to know that she was seeing me even on days I was quite or on days I avoided talking too much. She was listening.

I was going about my day yesterday (24th of April) as usual. I had plans of dropping a big social media challenge and I remember calling a friend from the lab asking her to join the challenge. It’s then she learnt that I had no info that my friend Kathumbi wasn’t here anymore. She told me. I froze. My mind was empty. I’m still going through the shock. Why would God allow this? Didn’t he see that she still had flowers in her office to give her a sense of peace during this time she was mourning the death of her own mum?

This are things that will never seem to make sense.

Rest well Katush. I’m praying for your dad. I really am. May he find strength to live.

I love(d) you. Thank you for believing in me. Thanks for teaching me the so many things that you did. Thank you for caring. Thank you for allowing me to be in your space. Thank you for being alive. Rest well dear Katush ❤️

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