BY BMJ MURIITHI
Kenyans in Atlanta were joined by their compatriots from other cities in the US Sunday as they packed the Kenyan American Community Church (KACC) in Marietta, Georgia, for a memorial service and a fundraiser to help with funeral arrangements for for the late Mike Mulwa Ngangi (+254) whose body will be flown to Kenya for burial this week.
Mulwa, 29, died 7 days ago after he was shot by a gunman at a gas station in Birmingham, Alabama, in what authorities have described as suspected robbery.
On Sunday afternoon, over $30k was raised in record time.
Watch a report by WSBTV, a local TV station:
“We have raised the required amount to repatriate the body,” said the pastor of KACC, Rev Dr GG Gitahi, after the harambee that took 35 minutes. “It is however not lost on us that Mulwa has left behind an expectant wife and two kids. They still need our continued support,” he added.
Those who spoke eulogised Mulwa as an optimistic entrepreneur who was full of life and a role model to many young people.
“He was my role model and I have learnt a lot from him,” said Januaries Kyalo, a close friend and a cousin who read the eulogy.
“We should not have been here…and Mike should have been somewhere fending for his family. We should not have been here were it not for that ruthless gunman,” said an emotional Rev Gitahi. “We must not allow fear to intimidate us. Mulwa died a hero because he said he could not be intimidated. We can not let the enemy win. The gunman can not win. You are a coward!,” he added, in direct reference to the assailant whose bullet took Mulwa’s life.
It is not about how long you live but how deeply your life was felt by others, said Dr Gitahi, noting that the deceased had touched many lives when he was alive.
Just before the fundraiser got underway, several congregants rose randomly to tell of how Mulwa’s life had impacted them.
“There was never a dull moment with Mike ,” said Francis Nyota, a close friend to the deceased.
The congregation was also told that besides Mulwa’s positive energy, he was also philanthropic, albeit quietly.
“He helped schools his village by donating computers but not many people knew about it,” said Tony Warui, Mulwa’s business partner with whom he launched the 254 skillswear brand. “We had plans to expand the 254 clothing line and take it to different countries in Europe ….and we will still do it in his honor because we can not let his dream die,” he said.
Warui disclosed that Mulwa was contemplating joining politics in “his quest to make a difference.”
Warui said that Mulwa’s family was very grateful for the support they were receiving from Kenyans in the US.
“He taught me how to drive a car…and he was extremely patient,” said a lady who sat on the front row.
Kenyans in Alabama, who had held a mini memorial service in Birmingham, sent over $3,000 which was presented by Pastor Simba Lombo. A Gofundme account created last week has raised about $5,300 by Sunday evening.
Mulwa is survived by daughter Kyla Mueni, son Kyle and wife Margaret Munuhe who is expecting their third child and who sat patiently through the Sunday event.
His body lies at West Cobb Funeral home where family and friends held a wake shortly after the harambee.
Watch the repeat of the memorial ceremony below by clicking on the “Watch again” button:
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