Did Ken Walibora predict his own death in his best-selling books?
With Kenya and the Swahili scholarly world still smarting from the sudden demise of prolific author Prof Ken Walibora, it has now emerged the deceased could have predicted about his death in the books he wrote more than 10 years ago.
The disconcerting revelation comes at a time when the death of the journalist-turned is shrouded in mystery, with more questions than answers emerging daily, following the postmortem report issued by the government pathologist Johansen Oduor.
Walibora was an iconic author, there is no doubt about that. He had this idiosyncratic ability to perfectly mirror the society with his impeccable mastery of the Swahili language.
His gift of predicting major social-political developments in his books with unmatched precision, led a section of literary pundits to view him as a prophet.
That said, the sheer thought that Walibora could have foreseen his death through the very characters he created in two of his best-selling books, Siku Njema (1996) and Kidagaa Kimemwozea (2012), was the last thing in most people’s mind.
A study of his literary work reveals an incredible similarity between the characters he created and the actual events preceding his untimely and painful demise.
From his mysterious disappearance for several days, his whereabouts before his mysterious demise, negligence by medics at the casualty, to the manner in which his interment is set to be conducted.
According to the plot and events depicted by the author in his books, it is like he had a premonition about his dramatic exit from the stage of this world.
Some may call it ill-luck, fate, or pure happenstance which occurred in his literature, but it is up to you, our reader, to decide for yourself.
The deceased reportedly went missing on Friday, April 6, 2020 which saw his family, relatives and friends embark on frantic search for him for days to no avail.
Similarly, in his novel Kidagaa Kimemwozea, the main character by the name Mtemi Nasaba Bora, ruler or king of Sokomo goes missing for several days leaving his family searching everywhere for him.
The author’s remains were later found in Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) mortuary on Wednesday, April 10, 2020 four days after his mysterious disappearance.
In the same way, Mtemi Nasaba Bora, is found dead with his body hanging on a tree in the forest after committing suicide (page 159).
The tragic end of Walibora and the character he created bears glaring similarities save for the fact that unlike the character who was found in the forest after taking his own life, the writer was found in the morgue after a road accident.
Walibora’s Mercedes Benz was found four days later parked along Kijabe Street, three kilometers away from Landies Road, where he was reportedly hit by a Double M matatu.
This vividly shows the deceased parked his car in the area before going on foot to wherever he went before he met his death.
In the same way, Mtemi Nasaba Bora’s car is found parked in a different place from where his body was found in the forest.
The same way the writer passed on after a road accident, in his renowned novel which propelled him to the limelight Siku Njema, the character named Rashid dies after being involved in a road accident (page 75).
It is only after finding Rashid’s remains that police launch investigations to ascertain the real cause of his death. Similarly, homicide detectives started investigating Walibora’s death after his body was found.
In Kidagaa Kimemwozea, Uhuru, a child, dies after failing to get treatment services as a result of negligence by the doctors and nurses at Nasaba Bora Hospital, a public health facility (page 65).
Similarly, Walibora reportedly passed on at KNH casualty section after waiting unattended, while bleeding for 18 hours, since he was rushed at the biggest public referral facility at 10am in the morning, up to midnight when he died.
Evidently, the main cause of the celebrated author’s death was negligence by the medics at KNH, the same fate which befell his character Uhuru.
The character named DJ Bob in Kidagaa Kimemwozea rushes to Nasaba Bora Hospital in the hope of getting medical assistance, after he was bitten by a stray dog with the deadly rabies disease (page 98).
However, after staying at the hospital for a long time without any sigh of being attended to, he is forced to go to his friend who treats him using traditional herbs until he regained his health.
If only Walibora had the ability to leave KNH and seek treatment elsewhere! Maybe he would have escaped death like his character DJ Bob.
Unfortunately, he was not able to. He died hours later waiting to be attended to.
In Siku Njema also, the body of Juma Mkosi, also known as Mzee Kazikwisha, a renowned scholar, is found by his son Msanifu Kombo, several days after his death, the same way Walibora was found dead four days after his mysterious demise.
Despite his fame as a celebrated scholar, many could not recognize the character Juma Mkosi’s body, the same way Walibora’s remains lay at the morgue as an unidentified male.
Even his relatives had a hard time to identify his body and it had to take Walibora’s mother intervention.
The character Mtemi Nasaba Bora, despite his rank in the society as a king or ruler in Sokomoko region, was buried in a low key event attended by very few people less than 10, which was quite weird.
It is so heartrending that, just like Mtemi Nasaba Bora, Walibora, an acclaimed author nationally and internationally, is set to be bade farewell in a low profile funeral that will be attended by not more than 15 people – mainly his family and close relatives.
Thousands of his friends, readers, followers, scholars and fellow academicians, who interacted with the fallen icon in his lifetime, will not be able to attend his sendoff to give their last respects, considering that his death has occurred in a time when the country and the world is battling the deadly Covid-19.