Gone, not forgotten: Njambi Koikai takes her final bow

Popular radio and television host Njambi Koikai, also known as Jahmby or Fyah Mummah to her fans, has passed on. She was 38. She underwent 21 surgeries to cure endometriosis over the years. Njambi suffered from thoracic endometriosis, a condition in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, or the endometrium, grows outside the uterus.
Last week, the ever-lively reggae emcee revealed on social media that she had been admitted to Nairobi Hospital’s Pioneer Ward and appealed for blood. “I kindly need Blood O positive. Kindly asking for blood donors for Mary Njambi Koikai,” she wrote on Instagram stories.

Njambi has undergone a series of surgeries both locally and abroad since she was diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 29. She left Kenya in February 2018 for treatment in Atlanta, United States, where she stayed for more than a year while undergoing treatment. Highlighting the effects of late diagnosis, she said it took her 17 years to get a diagnosis for the life-threatening disease. In a 2018 interview with the BBC, she talked about her struggles with the disease to raise awareness. In the interview, Njambi said it had been difficult to have stable love relationships because of painful sex and partners who did not understand her condition.

When the interviewer asked if she had lost partners because of painful sex, Njambi said: “Yes, yes, because the pain is so much that I don’t even want to go through it. And to find someone who understands that and is willing to go through that pain with you is hard. You know, to have to watch you go through pain every single month is crazy.” In August 2023, she described herself as a miracle for staying four years without undergoing surgeries since returning from the US. “21 surgeries. I am a miracle. I’ve been through ups and downs. Recovery has not been easy but I’m nowhere near those dark days. No lung collapses ever since. Rebuilding my body and strength,” she posted.

According to Endometriosis News, thoracic endometriosis is the presence of endometrial tissue in the thoracic region. It may in rare instances lead to pneumothorax in the left lung of young women, according to a case study. This condition, characterised by the presence of air or gas in the pleural cavity, can cause the lung to break from the chest wall. In a social media post a few weeks ago, Njambi appealed to President William Ruto, days before he left for a three-day visit to the US, to invest in healthcare. “Mr President, one of the thematic areas [you should focus on] in your visit is investment in health,” she said.

“Atlanta, Georgia, is a dream city for every young girl and woman who has ever battled … endometriosis. [There is] a centre [in Atlanta that is] dedicated to restoring the lives of young girls and women who are crippled by this disease.” The news of Njambi’s demise sent shockwaves across the country yesterday, with many people taking to social media to express their grief and pay tribute to the fallen “endo warrior”. “My heart is broken. It is not fair. We lost Fyah Mummah Jahmby Koikai last night. Our warrior is gone,” nominated Senator Gloria Orwoba wrote.

She had earlier appealed for blood donations on her behalf. “Unfortunately, Njambi is back in Hospital, fighting for her life again. The endo warrior is at Nairobi Hospital, she requires blood group O+ as she battles with endometriosis. Let’s help Njambi get back on her feet again… Find your way to Nairobi Hospital and donate some blood towards Njambi’s blood bank,” Senator Orwoba said in a post on June 2. “Fare thee well my friend, sister and just best friend Fyah Mummah Jahmby Koikai… You had a big family, just a big one… go well my friend,” Orange Democratic Movement spokesperson Philip Etale also said.

Njambi, who was raised by a single mother, pursued a degree course at United States International University and gained fame while hosting reggae shows on Metro FM and QFM. She unsuccessfully vied for the Dagoretti South MP seat in 2022.

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