As the Nairobi Fadhili William Anniversary Organising Committee was preparing to hold the 1st anniversary since the death of the internationally-acclaimed Kenyan author/composer of the song ‘Malaika’- who passed away at a Nairobi Hospital on 11th February 2001- a thought suddenly crossed my mind that I should call up Peter Colmore, the renowned 83-year old retired producer and entertainment icon (whom I had not yet met personally at the time), not only to extend an invitation but, also, to seek his help.
Peter Colmore not only promptly accepted to attend the occasion, but, also, proceeded to give an interesting list of local and East African celebrities whom he felt should not be left out of such a memorial event. He gave out the names, for instance, of Mzee Pembe, Gedion Mwanyigha -formely of he Police Band and the Father of Sheila Mwanyigha of Kiss FM- and, also, Ally Sykes-the President of the All Africa Travel & Tourism Association, etc.
Although I had not, similarly, met Mzee Ally Sykes before, I was equally surprised to obtain the latter’s prompt acceptance, over the telephone, of the invitation to the Grand Regency Hotel, Nairobi, on mentioning the late Fadhili William’s name. He had known both the late Fundi Konde and Fadhili William in the 1940s and 1950s, in Army and entertainment circles, respectively.
Such has been the spontaneous and overwhelming outpouring of support that has characterized the crusade to promote Fadhili William’s rich musical and cultural legacy as well as those of his East African peers.