When I first heard the Westgate mall was under siege, I was at the Storymoja Hay festival. To be real it begun as a rumor that it had been a robbery gone wrong and there was gunfire exchange…bla bla bla.

Someone went further to joke that goons with guns had gone to Westgate to steal milk! (Kenyan joke that one. Not so funny right now) but we laughed it off and the festival continued. There were only two ways it could end- the goons will be caught and shot on sight or they’d be super smart and run off with whatever they’d robbed. Not much to look forward to.

Then hours later, there was a buzz about a popular radio host having died at the shootout and then it became a case of rumors gone too far! Everyone knows how crazy Kenyans on twitter and fb can get with rumors.

People were curious but not crossing their fingers or saying prayers. The helicopters overhead and the sirens all over didn’t stop the festival. Not just yet.

Then at about 5pm we learn that what was to be the biggest show of the festival #Occupy Nairobi  was cancelled. I was like “Are you fucking kidding me?!” I had been looking forward to the show the whole weekend and they were cancelling it because of some robbers?!  Or was it? The terrorism claim begun to make a little more sense now but not just yet.

Now, Storymoja  Hay festival is frequented with, apart from Kenyans, many nationalities from Africa and beyond. The Westgate siege was at  that point still a suspected an act of terror and rumor had it that a more crowded event e.g. the Storymoja stir up night event  ; was the real target- which made little sense. I mean, if these guys had the guts to storm and begin shooting people at Westgate; they could very well have done the same wherever they wanted to target.

And then, the remaining shows of the festival which were to happen on Sunday were all cancelled! And trust me when I say they were going to be pretty awesome and huge!!!  That’s when it dawned on  everyone. It wasn’t just robbers.

One never really gets the magnitude of a tragedy in which they are not involved unless they are inconvenienced in some way. Then they begin to pay attention. I know I did.

Either way by 6 p.m. the air at the festival had begun getting frigid literally and otherwise. Rumors aside, everyone had realized how serious the situation was. Traffic was super crazy, fare hiked, shoppers crammed Tuskys and still with all these inconveniences, you realize that life is bigger than you.

There are people trapped somewhere in the mall- taken hostage by armed faceless people with motives unknown. We don’t know what they want or what they plan to do and they have people we hold dear!

The not knowing is the worst and am really sorry to people who have lost someone at the siege as well as those still injured or trapped. It’s very encouraging to see Kenyans from all walks and religions donating blood for others. I hope we keep it that way and not turn to xenophobia to deal with our anger. #weareone

0 Responses

  1. The Real G says:

    I was at the festival. So disappointed. But it was necessary

    1. storyzetu says:

      yeah it was. i hope there is a re-convention of sorts. i was really looking forward to the shows.

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