Thomas or Tom as we called him, walked limping into UP Nairobi’s offices down in Riverside one afternoon late last year. He walked in and there was some sort of tension perhaps from the stories we had heard on media about his case where he was accused of shooting two Africans and later served a manslaughter sentence at the deadly Kamiti Prison.
He had approached UP Magazine Nairobi for a partnership on his upcoming event, The Wilder Festival set for early 2016. By then I was a Staff Writer. Then in the office, due to our ignorance and the racial tension his case held, we would joke each time: ‘Be careful, Tom will shot you!’
The tributes written so far have indicated that Tom was many things to many people. Tom became deeply loyal to his fellow convicts and he set about trying to improve their lives at Kamiti. He set up amazing projects in farming, social and even technology while serving his sentence.
But Tom and I would come to share a more intimate session on the dancefloor of 2015 DXD Gala Awards together with fellow Equatorial House singer, Inami and DJ Saint Evo playing.
He was an extraordinary brave. He had seen us shake a leg and pull some Nigerian ‘Shoki’ moves and when he came close to us, not even his limping could stop him from trying the moves. Inami shared with me that video this week. Though it was short, it reminded me of his warmth and personality. Thinking of it right now,I wish I had said sorry for all of the things we said behind his back.
How Tom would shake your hand was different. He had his way. He would lock your arm and look you deep in the eye. I remember after dancing till the wee hours of morning, he walked up to me and asked if I was going to Wilder Festival. He had a way of making friends easily and he never judged. I never made it to Wilder. I had by then, moved from UP Nairobi to What’s Good Networks.
Perhaps, though, Tom’s greatest act of personal bravery was still to come. He had to undergo a hip operation where he sadly lost his life. Tom was loved by many who definitely knew him properly. I was grateful I shared a dance with him and showed him how to pull a leg like a real Shaka Zulu in the wild.
Here is the video. Watch Tom on the background!