When Juliet Kavinga, a Kenyan woman, was murdered by a Swede some years back, Kenya-Stockholmers were outraged. While the anger was directed towards the Swedish murderer, members of the Kenyan community in Stockholm also blamed themselves for failing to detect the dangerous circumstances under which Juliet was living. Eventually, Juliet was also blamed post-humously “for isolating herself” and creating the circumstances under which she was killed. If she had been open with Kenyans, so went the argument, she could have been advised to keep away from the Swede because the guy was disinterested in the baby and could therefore harm her, went the conclusion. Unfortunately, it was too late.
Last September, Nyambu, a Kenyan woman, killed her two children sparking a round of blames within the Kenyan community. Nyambu’s friends were blamed for failing to detect that something was wrong with her even after she isolated herself after allegedly going bonkers. Emotions were poured through KSB while Nyambu’s “friends” set up a FB page “to mourn the kids”. Anybody who tried to analyse the circumstances under which Nyambu may have killed her kids was quickly deleted from the friends FB membership. The argument was that friends “were in mourning” and anything else was unwelcome. Some friends who were mourning the most had, months back, boasted of having deleted Nyambu’s phone number from their mobiles “to get rid of her” because she had become crazy. Why is the Juliet tragedy and the Nyambu case relevant?
Today, there is a Kenyan woman called Magdalene who is begging in the streets of Stockholm. In July last year, a Kenyan couple calling themselves “The Kamaus” and who were on a visit to Stockholm from Kenya, bumped into her in town during her begging escapades. The Kamaus later wrote to KSB, asking whether there is anybody who could help her because she appeared to have been unwell upstairs.
Magdalene is apparently back in the streets, begging. Her style is a bit different. Unlike traditional beggars who camp at a corner of the streets with a small bakuli on the floor, Magdalene chases white people in the streets asking them to give her 100kr. Her strange technique is said to be working with sympathetic Swedes seeking to be left alone dipping into their wallets to get out anything which will help brash her off their trail. Once she is “helped” with a few kronas, she goes gambling at the local hole and once she runs broke, she hits the streets again in an ever ending cycle.
What is strange is that on the surface, Magdalene appears to be a very normal and sane person. However, every Kenyan who knows her also knows that she is sick mentally. If you attend a Kenyan function, you could easily bump into her, well dressed, humble and very patient. In fact, she engages in normal conversation and can even discuss issues. During the 90s, Kenyans used to converge in her flat to do politics because her ex was, by then, a dissident. Some of the big names in Stockholm today used to dine at her place.
Yeah, those were the good old days when Wakenya seeking asylum used to fight against the “dictatorial Moi/KANU regime” who was torturing Kenyans under a one party dictatorship forcing many Kenyans to flee the country to avoid being arrested and killed by the Special Branch! Today, Magdalene seems to have been abandoned by everybody in typical Kenya-Stockholm style – you are only useful when you are “normal” but the moment you begin to lose it, everybody runs away from you.
Where are the good Samaritans?
This lady is a mother of two brilliant adults and it is very painful to see what is happening to her as the Kenyan community recoils into itself. What happened to being your brother’s and sister’s keeper? A mantra that was being peddled just a few months ago after Nyambu killed her children? The situation is much more serious. I will give a scenario to drive my point home.
With her daily begging missions in town, Magdalene will, one day, attract the attention of the organized wing of the Swedish Nazis known to send white Swedish blondies to lure Africans into isolated areas to be “taught a lesson”. With her poor mental health, it is very easy to drive Magdalene away with the lure of money. The Swedish newspapers are awash with news items about disappearances and therefore, this scenario is not an “out of Sweden” fantasy. As a friend of Magdalene, will you come back and mourn about what could have been done when tragedy strikes?
The Swedish system is tough. Magdalene has been married twice, a very normal experience in Sweden. The problem is that although she is unwell, even her closest friends whom she has been praying with at Bagarmossen church have abandoned her. Surely, where is: Pastor Samsang; members of her church congregation; her adult children; her close friends for many years; and even her former hubbies whom she took care of for years? Must Kenyans here wait until Magdalene ends in some tragic situation before fathoming about what could have been done?
Where are the “good Samaritans” who have been taking in renegade teenagers and keeping them in their apartments? Some Kenyans are on record for having gone to court to prevent mothers from taking custody of their rebellious teenage daughters “in the interest of the child”. Where are they?
Last year, after Nyambu killed her kids, these good Samaritans saturated the Swedish media with sympathetic faces as they mourned about their inability to help Nyambu because her case had remained obscure. Where are they to act “in the interest” of this poor woman who is actually a tragedy waiting to happen in the streets of Stockholm?