I guess I had an epiphany of Bob Collymore’s death. Before he knew the curtains were drawing for him. I decided I do not have a problem with being a well-read invalid. So, I made a habit. Every week, I must read a book from end to end. For almost a month now I have been stuck with Sapiens, A Brief History of Human Kind by Yuval Noah Harari. First time I heard of this book; I was reading Bob’s interview in a magazine. I cannot remember which one. But one of those magazines, homegrown where every week there is a segment for interviews for the who’s. The interviewer had asked him, his 3 favorite books. And there was Sapiens and I think Conversations or something like that. I cannot remember the third one. But they were all nice books. I am guessing the third one was Dr. Zeus’.
But unless you are a sociopath lost in your own illusion and delusion, you can not fail to appreciate the great man Bob was. Some will celebrate you in life, others will celebrate you in death. Nevertheless, not everyone will celebrate you. Robert Collymore was a great man. He was the elephant, who decided to give the little people a voice. His reign in Safaricom has seen the birth of great things. Things that we know little of, but the results speak for themselves. I know there are political animals who will come for my neck about what role Safaricom played in 2013 elections. But me, I am a little person. And I do not care how loud you scream. I am just telling my side of the story. From where I sit. Of what kind of a man I thought Bob Collymore was. A great man.
I am yet to finish the book, Sapiens. Because I am too tired of stripping life off its color. To understand life and the world, is strip off life its color and leave a grim canvas of black and white. That is what the book does. It strips life off its mysteries. It paints a myriad picture of the society as. It tells you how a greedy a species we human beings are. It further reminds us that no matter how up the pyramid of evolution we ascend, we are apes. Animals. Greedy, self-serving, gullible, and mostly a smaller version of our ancestors. That the only reason our brains got smaller we had to reserve our energy to do other things than to look for food. And somehow, we got here because we killed the weaker species.
So, I will keep my magic. I will celebrate a great man. Authentic in his nature, never afraid to stand for what he believed was the truth and above all, a man who met death with a brave face. His sun-downer was his favorite bottle of whisky and on his deathbed, he decided would be the love of his life and his kids. Funny, how we humans, smaller versions of apes were quick to judge. His marriage. His third marriage to be precise. Yet most of us are living in shells of shallow relationships and marriages. We are contented with mundane and the matrix. We are ‘settling down’ instead of committing. We threw stones.
Bob once said he does not regret his marriages. His first marriage happened in his twenties. When he was barely himself. He was just a shell of half of the man he became later in life. You can imagine accommodating someone else in your personal space where you yourself are not even comfortable with it. That is tragic. You can marry in your twenties. We have seen marriages that start in twenties and have withered all storms. And that is okay. But this was Bob’s truth. He felt unsure, unready to be in a marriage in his twenties.
His second marriage, he said, he did not do right by it. And you see that is the difference between a good person and a bad person. Instead of damaging another human being, because maybe the institution of marriage is something you are yet to understand, you willingly let them go. You tell them your truth and you stand by it. But most of us apes, won’t do that. We would rather cheat in a marriage a million times, manipulate and lie to our partners, ruin our children in the process than to stand up for our truth. I have come to believe that men called Robert have a streak of greatness. Or rather from the two I have closely followed and learned from. Bob Marley was authentic and pure in his truth. In his marriage with Ritah Marley, he had many ‘affairs’ with different women. And any time he was asked in an interview if he was adulterous, Bob would say, ‘I don’t believe in titles. Titles are just that. For me I believe in love.’
Hold your horses. Don’t start thumping the Bible yet. I am a believer too. My relationship with God has evolved overtime. So, I am not dismissing God’s word. I am basically painting the truth. Bob’s truth. Unless we are authentic, and stand in our truth, atrocities will not end on earth. Anger and bitterness of the cheated lovers, betrayed friends and forsaken families will not end.
Sorry. I keep going off script. But isn’t that life? A series of plot twists.
So. Collymore’s third marriage came after self-actualization. In a simple ceremony he and his wife Wambui Kamiru exchanged their vows. In a private, invites-only ceremony with 100 or so guests. We the apes were quick to throw stones once again. Always first to remove the speck of wood from our brother’s eyes. ‘She a gold-digger.’ But this woman, we were so eager to paint an ugly picture of, became his solid rock on his last days. I was never the stalker peeking through Bob’s curtains, so I do not have a detailed dossier on how imperfect or perfect their marriage was. But if there is anything I have learnt; the truth is relative. Your truth is your truth. My truth is my truth. There is nothing like the universal truth. Except God.
If you heard Wambui Collymore eulogize her late husband, then you will appreciate the depth in their relationship. I can imagine the kind of conversations they had. This woman we castigated decided to shave her dreadlocks in solidarity with her husband who was ailing from cancer. She even went further ahead to start a group of stem-cell donors, to help other lymphatic cancer victims. She was brave enough to stand with her own truth. She stayed an artist, shied away from her husband’s umbrella, and stuck to her own thing. From a distance, we were all throwing shed at her, at their marriage. But Bob Collymore loved her with open arms. He adopted her kids. Without publicizing it.
If God was a writer, He likes his scripts full of satire and plot twists. You can imagine how Bob had his whole life planed. After marrying Wambui, he knew he had a long life ahead. Maybe even planned for a Mediterranean cruise with her. He promised himself he would be the father Wambui’s kids never had. He made it official on paper. But when you plan God laughs. He laughed at Bob. ‘This guy thinks it’s gonna be rosy.’
Surprise. Bob is riddled with cancer. Bob is given 9 months to live
Plot Twist. Bob outlives the 9 months.
Surprise. Bob’s cancer relapses.
Plot Twist: Bob has a month to live
Surprise: Bob dies in a week
You get the picture. God and satire. That somehow death begets life. That through death life, a burden to all of us is celebrated. If Bob Marley was alive today, would he be a legend? If Bob Collymore outlived his time, would we remember all the good he did?
Surprise. Bob Marley died at 36, at the peak of his career.
Say all you want, but a great man is a great man.