The life story of Mama Alice Wali wife of Kalaghe Mkoba of Bungule, Kasigau forms part of the sad but, interesting history of the Kasigau people. Her identity card states that she was born in 1904, which gives her the approximate age of 114 years today.
She was a small girl, probably aged less than eleven years old, when the entire Kasigau community, including Rukanga where she was born, was unfairly targeted for punishment by the British Colonial authorities and subsequently banished to a painful and slavish life in a Concentration Camp in Pangani and Magharini in Malindi between 1915 and 1917 allegedly because of betraying the British Military Forces to the Germans then occupying Tanganyika, during the First World War.
Mama Alice Wali’s father, Mterengo, also known as Mtwangi and her mother Nose, together with her siblings Sezi , Njeghe and Mjomba, were therefore all bundled together with other villagers, in the painful journey on foot through Bughuta up to Maungu, where they boarded the train to Mombasa from where they were later shipped to Malindi in appalling human conditions.
After years of suffering in the Malindi Concentration Camps, Mama Alice Wali and her parents were transported back for re-settlement in Mwatate following a decision to rehabilitate them.
Upon her parents’ death, Mama Alice Wali was brought up by her step-brother Mwakulomba who fended for her every need, including marrying her off to Kalaghe Mkoba in the late 1920s.
Having become Kalaghe Mkoba’s second wife, the couple was blessed with nine children, three of whom, Maghanga, Peter Makalo and Robert Mwavula were born in Mwatate, before the couple re-located back to their ancestral lands in Bungule, Kasigau. The rest of her children, the late Jones Kea, Grace Akora wife of Mwaighuri, the late Ibrahim Mwanjala, the late Nose wife of Lotoi, Cosmas Mdari and, last-born Rehema Mwachidzo (Damaris Mwakuli) were born to the couple in Bungule. Her husband passed on in 1963, leaving her tilling the lands as a peasant farmer and, to bring up her children whom she encouraged in their educational pursuits.
By the time Mama Alice Wali celebrated her 100th Anniversary, however, she had ceased her peasant farming activities, to concentrate on looking after her doting grandchildren and great-grandchildren and, as she worshipped Almighty God in the local Ebenezer Gospel Church, led by Pastor Chrispus Mwakisambi.
Mama Alice Wali sounded vibrant and physically strong over the years. Her son Cosmas Mdari, who built a house in Bamburi, Mombasa north upon his retirement in 2005, recalls his mother’s powerful prayers before every meal, whenever she visited him there at the time. She communicated easily and fed herself well then.
Unfortunately, Mama Alice Wali appeared to have been shocked by the death of her grand-son Ben Kalaghe in or about 2007, while teaching in Bungule Primary School. Named after her own late husband, Ben Kalaghe’s death dealt a severe blow to Mama Alice Wali, from which she did not recover.
In the last ten years, Mama Alice, who lost her eye sight and hearing progressively, has been alternating between living in her Bungule home and, at the home of her daughter Grace Akora in Makwasinyi. As she grew older, she became selective as to what she would eat, even as she occasionally completely refused to eat.
Meanwhile, she developed an incurable skin disease, probably due to her worsening health and advanced age. She became selective, too, as to who would care for her in her twilight years. In the end, she preferred the exclusive warmth and comfort of her daughter Grace Akora wife of Mwaighuri, popularly known as “Mee Julius”, an old lady in her own right, in whose loving presence and company, she peacefully went to be with the Lord at about 5.00 am on the morning of Sunday, 28th October 2018 in Makwasinyi.
Mama Alice is survived by her children Grace Akora Mwaighuri (Mee Julius), Cosmas Mdari, and Rehema Mwachidzo (Damaris Mwakuli), 73 .grandchildren, 250 great-grand-children and, 59 .great-great grandchildren.
May the name of the Almighty God be forever praised. Amen.