Boniface Mwangi: Fare thee well my friend, James Quest
This morning we lost greatness.
For all his faults he was a great man. He was a good rider. Riding home at around 1 a.m, he was hit by a car from the back.
He was found 40 metres from the place of impact.
He was a fighter. He didn’t give up easily and he tried to sit up after falling but succumbed to his injuries. The police found him in a half-sitting position,
Like he’d been trying to get up when he gave up the spirit. The driver who hit him didn’t stop, he drove off. The person may have been drunk. Kenyans love to drink and drive. Just look at the parking lot outside of bars. They’re always full.
Isn’t it time that Alcoblow tests were set up outside of bars? Most crimes in this country become cold cases the moment they happen.
It’s likely the killer driver will never be caught. I wonder if those tall poles with expensive cameras work – or are they just scarecrows? Money meant for a police forensic lab was eaten by a few individuals. We now know it as Anglo Leasing.
And life goes on…
No, life doesn’t always go on.
James Quest was a good friend. We did many awesome things together. We were in many WhatsApp groups as creatives, bikers and friends. We were in one special group called “Mwanaume ni Kujichocha” (A man is all about self-motivation).
We would roast each other. All of us in that group had a common bond. We travelled together for a month to shoot the Diaper Mentality photos. If we got into trouble while with him, we trusted him to handle the issue on our behalf.
He was a Peacemaker. He was Mr. Fix it for most of us.
On a good day, James Quest would get you anything you wanted. He could move mountains. He made magic happen.
He was Pawa254’s first member when we opened in 2011. We didn’t have chairs, so he brought his.
He was there when we did vulture graffiti in 2012. We worked at night to avoid arrests. I was so busy that on my wedding anniversary in 2012, Quest turned our office garden into a restaurant. He took me downstairs to show me a surprise. It was my wife all dressed up. Quest was our host and waiter. He served us pizza with so much love and enthusiasm. My 2012 wedding anniversary is special and will remain memorable because of Quest.
He was our supply line during protests, bringing us water and alerting us if there was ever any trouble. Every time l was arrested, l was certain of the one face I would see waiting outside upon my release: James Quest. He was family. He was there for my wife and kids. He was there for the artists and biking community. He ran the bikers’ database and was the person you called after an accident. He was our 911.
He was a good friend to many of us. If a biker fell, Quest would be the first one on the scene.
This week, we were together till late after a lady biker fell. As usual Quest surfaced without fail; it was the first time I had seen him this year. Quest was there when everything was happening. He would always disappear when things got boring and show up during action time.
Last evening he showed up at my office. l was upset that the KDF Heroes’ Vigil preps weren’t going according to plan and l was on the phone complaining.
NO HUG, NO HANDSHAKE
Quest, as usual, asked if there was anything he could do to help. I didn’t give him a hug or even a handshake. I just said hi and we spoke about things we are supposed to do this weekend. I regret that.
He had come from a Recce for a music video we are shooting this weekend. He was meant to come to the KDF Heroes Vigil but decided to first go to Mombasa Road and meet me there.
He didn’t make it to the vigil.
At 3 a.m l got a phone call. It’s never a good thing when a biker friend calls you at night. The biker said “It’s Quest.”
He paused to give me time to process and told me what l didn’t want to hear.
“He is gone.”
I still can’t believe it. I wish l had hugged him or shook his hand last night but l was so caught up in my issues that l went straight to business. He came to say goodbye and I ignored him.
We met Quest’s parents this morning – his mother said “He was a good son. l will miss him.” His dad spoke about how his son has finished the race well. He had a great relationship with his parents. Yes he did, he lived his life to the fullest.
As we left his parents’ house, his father told us “Be careful, we live in a dangerous country where people don’t follow the law.” I hope the killer driver gets caught. If you witnessed an accident on Waiyaki Way around 1 a.m, opposite Safaricom House, PLEASE inbox me.
Fare thee well brother. Ride with the Angels. We shall join you hopefully not so soon. Your life was cut short too soon but your deeds will outlive you.
You were greatness.