Comedian Eric Omondi suggests that depression could have contributed to the death of Njenga Mswahili, who was found dead on Thursday, November 7, in Dagoretti, Nairobi.
Mswahili was found lying lifeless on a rail track in the morning. It is still not yet known how he ended up on the train path.
Speaking on Milele FM’s Bangaiza Show hosted by Chris Da Bass on Monday, November 11, Omondi said Mswahili had financial problems that he had sought help for, but no one came to his rescue.
Eric Omondi said the late humorist, who featured on Churchill Show, even asked him two or three times for financial help, and he offered the assistance, but failed to follow up on his well-being thereafter.
“Njenga Mswahili was not okay for nearly three years. He sought help from different people, including myself. He approached me on two or three occasions for assistance. I helped where I could,” Eric Omondi said on Bangaiza.
“The last time I bumped into him, he told me that he had gotten saved, and was preaching at Junction area in Dagoretti. I asked him to get into the supermarket and pick the things that he needed, which he did. I settled the bill,” said Omondi.
“Later, I heard that Njenga had been arrested. When I inquired what led to his arrest, I was told he had stolen from a shop in Dagoretti. I was shocked, given I knew he was born again. Much later, I learnt that he was suffering depression. This is something that very many people knew, but today, life is akin to how people get fast-food meals. Somebody could be shouting for help, but no one cares to help. It is like we have lost every shred of humanity that we had,” said Omondi.
“Njenga was asking for help. He sought money from people, but no one helped him. It happened for three-plus years. I also blame myself for Njenga’s death. My assumption was that: ‘He would be okay; he should fight it hard like the man that he was’,” said Eric Omondi.
According to the famous funnyman, new comedians often have extremely big names, but their lifestyles cannot reflect the same, given the meagre pay they get from the industry.
“When you are a celebrity who has a big name with no money, then chances are high you would suffer depression, given the lifestyle you’re living is not mirroring your status as a public figure,” said Omondi.
“When I started featuring in Churchill Show, in the first five months, I was very famous but very broke. I would board matatus while drenching of sweat,” he said.
“What I have learnt is that, as comedians, we need mentors. Churchill taught me how to make money. He asked me to look for a manager to get me shows, and I did exactly that,” said Omondi.
Njenga Mswahili delivered his jokes in Swahili language, mimicking how people with great mastery of the language often speak.
He is preserved in a Nairobi morgue, with family making arrangements for burial.