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If it doesn’t kill me… Njambi Koikai and why she was passionate about Endometriosis

“If it doesn’t kill me, I’ll go on. If I’m not dead yet, if endometriosis hasn’t killed me, then I’m here for a purpose. I get my strength from God. I talk a lot about God because I have experienced death. I have smelt death, I have been close to death many times,” Njambi Koikai told this writer in an interview in 2021.

Unfortunately, two years later, the disease won.

The former radio presenter, popularly known to her fans as Jahmby or Fyah Mummah, passed away on Monday night at Nairobi Hospital.

“There is nothing more we can do for you.” Those were the words that were all too familiar to her,” she added during the interview.

For two decades, the reggae crooner had been battling thoracic endometriosis, which refers to the presence of endometrial tissue in or around the lungs. Such cases are rare and can require multiple specialist treatments.

But who was Fyah Mummah?

Born in 1986 in Dagoretti, Nairobi county, she was raised by her single mother and late grandmother.

Her mother was always passionate about education and made sure she got the best. She was first enrolled at St Hannah’s Prep School and later attended Makini School for her primary education.

In 2029, she revealed that she was a rebel and attended five different secondary schools. “I went to a lot of high schools, five of them. I was a rebel and a bit of a teenage delinquent who had mixed identities and was trying to find herself.

She attended Parklands Arya in 1999 and was expelled after one term when she experienced her first painful period. “Every school I went to had a different story. I was taken back to one of those privileged schools. The struggle of identity coupled with what I now know to be the condition that’s plagued me for over 20 years, endometriosis,” she said at the time.

After high school, she joined Daystar University and graduated in 2008. She later joined the United States International University (USIU) in 2009 and dropped out before returning to complete her studies, eventually graduating in 2016.

Her journey in the entertainment industry began at a young age, and she quickly became a well-known deejay in Kenya and beyond, where her fame spanned two decades.

Earlier in her career, Njambi was an actress with Heartstrings Kenya.

She was a regular on Metro FM, KBC between 2008 and 2012 and Nation Media Group in 2012 where she hosted reggae shows. She was also a regular guest and presenter on the popular NTV show The Trend.

Many people don’t know that Jahmby was Sauti Sol’s first manager when the group was still in its infancy, and one of the members of the group Fancy Fingers says she played a major role in her career.

She also tried her luck in politics, unsuccessfully contesting as an independent candidate for the Dagoretti South parliamentary seat in 2022.

After her story was highlighted in the media in 2017, Jahmby decided to launch an awareness campaign to demystify the disease that affects many women.

In order to get the treatment she needed, she had to raise Sh10 million from the public.

Fortunately, her prayers were answered when Kenyan musicians and TV personalities held a benefit concert to raise the money.

A year later, in 1998, she packed her bags and left for Atlanta, Georgia, where she was admitted to the Centre for Endometriosis Care for advanced treatment.

By this time she had stage four endometriosis and doctors told her she needed life-saving surgery.

The reggae hype mistress wants to be a beacon of hope for other women with endometriosis.

“I want people to know that endometriosis robs women of their livelihoods, careers, relationships, self-esteem, fertility and will to live because of the pain. But there is hope. We can beat it, and we should continue to fight for a cure.”

According to Endometriosis News, Thoracic endometriosis is the presence of endometrial tissue in the chest region and can, in rare cases, lead to pneumothorax in the left lung of young women, according to a case study.

This condition, characterised by the presence of air or gas in the pleural cavity, can cause the lung to separate from the chest wall.

Njambi Koikai, popularly known as Jahmby or Fyah Mummah, was 38 years old.

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