The dictionary describes August as not just the eighth month of the year, but something with an impressive quality, majestic, regal.
But August seems a dark month in Kenya. In the last two days, tragedy has struck, snuffing life out of innocent souls. On Wednesday, around 5pm, a tidal wave sneaked upon pupils who were hitherto having a whale of a good time at a private beach in Diani, killing seven of them.
As parents of the Saint Martin De Pores Boy School in Murang’a Thursday struggled to come to terms with the loss, death hid in yet another natural phenomenon. A blinding lightening cut through the sky in Kakamega County killing five children on the spot on Thursday.
The children, aged between seven and 13, were playing at the Lumakanda Boys High School in Lugari, Kakamega County when calamity struck.
Two children had on Wednesday last week died in Lake Victoria, Homa Bay County, after the boat they were travelling in collided with another boat.
Two days before that, two students had died in a fire suspected to have been started by their colleagues in Ndeiya, Limuru, at the Stephjoy Boy’s High School. Scores others were injured.
In yet another boat accident on Wednesday, three fishermen died after their boat capsized in Lake Naivasha.
But August 2014 was not as gloomy, though providence intervened to save students from Mumias from a fatal accident after their bus plunged into a valley.
The ten students from Booker Academy were travelling to Mombasa for the drama festivals when their bus veered of the road in the picturesque Nandi Hills, plunging into the valley below and killing one of the four teachers on board.
Well, number 13 is also said to be jinxed. And August 2013 lived to the bad omen. Remember the Ntulele bus horror? It was on August 29 when a Homa Bay bound bus rolled at a bend along the Mai-Mahiu-Narok road, killing 41 passengers and seriously injuring others. Some of the victims were relatives and friends. And chillingly, on August 7, 2013, on the anniversary of the 1998 bomb attack in Nairobi that killed more than 200, the nation awoke to news that its premier hub, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), was on fire.
In 2012, more than 52 people were either hacked to death or burnt in Tana River and Mandera. It was also in August that eight pupils of St Theresa’s Asumbi Girls in Homa Bay were burnt to death.
But apart from accidents, prominent Kenyans have died in the month of August. President Jomo Kenyatta, on August 22, 1978 and former Vice President Michael Kijana Wamalwa, August 23, 2003 are two of the most prominent. Former politician Martin Shikuku also died in August.