Last week the nation woke up to the sad news about the death of renowned Comedian Emmanuel Makori, popularly known as Ayieya, in a grisly road accident. His wife Njoki Nyambane, alongside two other comedians among them Paul Ogutu, better known as Wa Kimani (a close friend of Ayieya’s), managed to escape albeit with injuries.
The four were heading to their home in Rongai from a pre-recorded Churchill show, which is done every Thursday at Carnivore’s Simba Saloon. The recording, which features a number of comedians, usually starts at 6pm and ends at 4am.
On the fateful day, George Maina, known by the stage name Njoro, spent almost the whole day at Ayieya’s house with Njoki and their three-year-old daughter Tamara.
“He appeared jovial except for the fact that his grandmother had passed on a few days earlier,” recalls Njoro. Ayieya was planning to travel to Mombasa after the Churchill show before travelling home to pay his last respects for his grandmother. Njoro describes Ayieya as a man who kept to himself and only shared his personal issues with him and Wa Kimani. They parted ways and later met Ayieya with his wife at Carnivore for the recording.
“He was earlier than usual, something that surprised me since I always arrive before him,” says Njoro.
Without wasting time they joined their fellow comedians for the rehearsal.
“Ayieya went on stage before me at about 2am and did his thing extremely well,” says Njoro.
“At some point he asked me to take him home, but I could not since I had not taken to the stage,” he adds.
Unable to wait any longer, Ayieya got a lift from Wa Kimani, who also lives in Rongai.
“I found Ayeya’s missed call and decided to call him back at about 3am and he assured me he was okay. He said he was buying some stuff at Uchumi Supermarket on Langata Road and was coming back to Carnivore,” says Njoro.
Njoro later muted his phone and continued with his show. But rather than come back to Carnivore, Ayieya decided to go home with Wa Kimani. After his show, Njoro was shocked on seeing the number of missed calls from Ayieya’s wife and colleagues. When he managed to get through to her, she cried “Mamu wako ameniacha.”
My best friend
“I have not only lost a husband, but my best friend. I can only hope God gives me the strength to be able to cope,” says his wife Njoki.
Comedian Dan ‘Churchill’ Ndambuki describes Ayieya as a humble man who never let fame get into his head.
“Before and after his shows he always found time to greet everyone,” he recalls. Another comedian, David Ng’ang’a, also known as MCA Tricky, says Ayieya was a God-fearing person whose jokes often revolved around the scriptures. Eric Omondi described Ayieya as a straightforward and honest person. To many other comedians both established and new, Ayieya was a good adviser and listener who was willing to learn from others.
“One thing I clearly know is that he loved spending his time with his wife and daughter Tamara, who he loved and cherished. This aside he was a good husband, father, comedian and a friend,” says Njoro. Friends and family members have been holding mini fundraisers at various hotels within Nairobi with the main one scheduled for today at 6pm at 680 Hotel from 5pm. There will be a church service at NPC Karen tomorrow from 11am.