"Sissy ni watumishi wa community / We are servants of the community" — Nyagah wa Kamau / Stephen Nyash, RIP
Kenya Indymedia has reported that on Tuesday, February 21, radio
journalist and organizer Stephen Nyash was shot dead in the Korogocho
ghetto of Nairobi, where he had lived and worked for most of his life.
Korogocho is the third largest slum in the world . At writing, the motive for his murder is not clear.
Nyash was one of the founders of KOCH FM ,
a close partner of Kenya Indymedia. He was also a leader in "Koch Hope"
and "Ghetto Films," which worked to empower the slumdwellers of
Korogocho. He brought this wealth of experience to the fourth IMC-Africa
Convergence in Senegal last March as a representative of Kenya
Indymedia. He was also integral in organizing a "Conference of People"
held in Korogocho to coincide with the Conference of Parties (COP-17)
gathering on climate change. Fellow organizer John Bwakali writes, "From
the moment that he knew about Kenya Indymedia, Nyash became not just an
active participant but fellow leader of the movement… Upon return [from
Senegal], he immersed himself into the vision and work of Kenya
Indymedia." Read John's Full Reflection HERE  and his audio interview with Nyash  on the fight against State injustices.
To our knowledge, Nyash is the third Indymedia worker to be killed. On
June 29th, 2004, 23-year old Lenin Cali Najera of Indymedia Guayaquil in
Ecuador was assassinated by agents of the Ecuadorian government [5, 6].
On October 27, 2006 Bradley Roland Will of New York City Indymedia was
assassinated by paramilitary forces of the Mexican government while
documenting the on-going struggle of the people of Oaxaca. [7, 8]
Nyash will be buried on 3 March 2012. He is survived by his wife, three
year old daughter, ten year old son and mother. Kenya Indymedia is
accepting donations for burial expenses and the family's needs, and
plans to set up a fund to continue his work toward justice for the
oppressed particularly in the slums; peace at the community level and
economic empowerment and protection of young people. For the short term,
donations can be sent via paypal to email@example.com.
More on KOCH FM From Deep Dish/Waves of Change :
Who we are?
Koch Fm is the first ghetto community radio in Kenya. It was started in
2006 by a group of 10 youths in Korogocho slums. Our motto is:
Edutainment - Educating through entertainment!
The radio is situated in Korogocho slums which is the third largest slum after Kibera and Mathare.
radio was started in order to provides a platform for Korogocho people
to address their issues through information sharing, education and
communication to promote social, political and economic well-being of
its listeners. The radio's aim is to give a voice to the voice-less by
mobilizing, lobbying and advocating for human rights issues using
different radio programmes. Koch FM highlights issues like gender
empowerment, HIV and aids, insecurities, poor governance, poor
sanitation, children's rights and youth & talent.
A tribute to Stephen Nyash by John Bwakali, Kenya Indymedia, as published on ciranda.net :
NYASH’S LIFELONG COMMITMENT TO A BETTER LIFE FOR SLUM DWELLERS
Nyash almost always had a big smile pasted on his face.
But lurking behind this smile was a deep passion for the less fortunate
people and against the injustices that they suffer. The injustices of
the State both locally and globally together with the many injustice of
Earlier this month of February, I had lunch with Nyash
in Korogocho ghetto, where he spent most of his life. We had agreed to
meet at Othaya, a popular nyama choma (roast meat) restaurant in
I arrived a bit earlier than him and when he
arrived, he was spotting his trademark smile. He apologized for being
late, noting that he had been concluding several meetings. I understood,
because I knew that Nyash was either leading or deeply involved in many
initiatives towards making life better for the people of Korogocho.
Within moments of his arrival, Nyash began assisting the waiter to
serve the people who were flocking into the restaurant. He moved from
table to table, chopping steaming meat and washing the hands of the
people. He wasn’t doing this because he worked there but because he
noticed that the sole waiter at the place was swamped with work.
As he was serving the people next to my table, he flashed that big
smile at me and said cheerily, ‘sisi ni watumishi wa community – we are
servants of the community.’
These five words best describe how
Nyash lived and died – serving the community that he loved. Serving the
people of Korogocho slums to put food on their table, seal leaking
roofs, take their children to school, fight crime, make better roads,
leave peaceably, find decent livelihoods and speak out.
did all this through Koch FM, the community radio station that he
co-founded and chaired; Koch Hope, another organization which he
co-founded that provides bathroom, conference and recreational services
to the people of Korogocho; Ghetto Films, an organization that informs
and empower slum dwellers through film and Kenya Indymedia, a movement
that provides a platform for community activists to find unity and
clarity in their common voice for the people.
From the moment
that he knew about Kenya Indymedia, Nyash became not just an active
participant but fellow leader of the movement. Together with three other
activists, he represented Kenya Indymedia in Senegal during the
Indymedia collective that was held there. Upon return, he immersed
himself into the vision and work of Kenya Indymedia.
last ‘Conference of People’ event, Nyash played a pivotal role by
mobilizing local activists and stakeholders. He also ensured the venue
was available and later on organized lunch for the organizers.
last talked with him on Saturday 18th of this month. Because I was then
in Lamu Island, we agreed to meet on Wednesday 22nd so that we could
prepare a strategy outline for Kenya Indymedia’s work for 2012.
Sadly on the morning of this day that we were to meet, I received text
message from Roba, a Kenya Indymedia member and renowned activist
musician. The text read simply that, ‘we have lost Nyash, bonge la
maandamano Koch.’ We have lost Nyash and people all over Korogocho are
Nyash had been gunned down a few hours earlier
outside his house in Korogocho. He was shot in the chest and stomach and
didn’t make it to hospital. It is still not clear who committed this
brutal and evil act. What is clear is that although they took away his
life, they can never take away his legacy.
I will now leave you with his own words, ‘sisi ni watumishi wa community – we are servants of the community.’
The best tribute we can pay to our friend, comrade and brother Nyash is
to ensure that his service remains alive and active by continuing to
serve the people of Korogocho slums and those in our own societies who
are less fortunate.
NB: Kenya Indymedia will meet and consult
widely on how both the local and international community of activists
can best pay tribute to Nyash by contributing to a concrete project that
will help his family and the people of Korogocho.
1 - Indymedia Radio Activist Shot in Kenya
2 - KOCH-FM Facebook Page
3 - A tribute to Stephen Nyash by John Bwakali, Kenya Indymedia
4 - audio interview with Nyash on the fight against State injustices
5 - Ecuador IMC activist assassinated
6 - Carta a Lenin Cali
7 - NYC Indymedia Journalist Brad Will Shot Dead by Government Forces in Oaxaca
8 - The New York City Independent Media Center responds to the death of Brad WILL