By Ranell Dickson Nsereko
It was a sombre mood as socialite Shanita Namuyimbwa aka Bad Black together with a group of friends and I left Kampala for the burial of slain vblogger Isma Olaxess aka Jajja Iculi at his ancestral home in Katwe village, Nakisunga sub-county, Mukono district.
Isma had been a close friend of Bad Black, and his sudden death left her devastated.
My journey with her started from Zzana on Entebbe Road at the home of Isma’s parents. She had come with her driver, who is my friend and neighbour, and she was kind enough to ask my friend, Abdul Ssempijja and I to find other people that needed a lift to the burial grounds.
What a sharp contrast with the vulgar, foul-mouthed Bad Black that is known on social media!
The ex-convict, who served time in prison over swindling sh11b, made sure everyone in the car was fine. At one point, she bought us refreshments and urged us to be strong and calm.
As we embarked on the long road trip, the mood was melancholic, and everyone was lost in their own thoughts.
However, it didn’t take long for Bad Black, also known as Mama Jonah, to break the silence with her wit and funny stories.
Bad Black was not your typical mourner and although she was saddened by the death of her close friend Isma, she knew that the road trip to the burial would be filled with mixed emotions, and she was determined to make our journey as memorable as possible.
My other colleagues were a little unsure at first, but soon we were laughing and joking along with her. Bad Black had a way of putting us at ease, and her infectious energy soon spread throughout the car.
She had a way of making everyone laugh and forget their grief, if only for a moment. Her infectious laughter soon spread throughout the car, and wherever we passed, people were staring.
Bad Black said she rarely attends burials, but she couldn’t miss Isma’s. She said on the very day of the burial, she was supposed to act as a vixen in a video, but the directors postponed it to the next day to allow her mourn her friend.
How did Bad Black and Isma Olaxess meet?
Bad Black and Isma started interacting when he came back to Uganda in 2015, having lived in Sweden for 10 years. The two, according to Bad Black, became inseparable ever since.
On the night when Isma was gunned down, May 6, Bad Black was devastated. She, however, knew that Isma would have wanted her to celebrate her life, not mourn his death and so, she decided to turn the road trip to the burial into a celebration of his life.
As we drove along, Bad Black shared motivational quotes, encouraging everyone to live their lives to the fullest like Isma did.
“Life is too short to be sad all the time. We should cherish the time we have with our loved ones and make the most of every moment,” she said.
Bad Black’s humour and enthusiasm kept everyone entertained all along the journey. She shared hilarious stories about her childhood and teenage years, growing up in a staunch Muslim family and community and her school life, leaving everyone in stitches.
Midway the journey, she turned on her phone and went on her TikTok account to mourn her lost friend in a video live, but her statements were so funny that many of us in the car were cracking up.
Bad Black revealed that she loves having the car windows down while travelling. However, she occasionally rolled them up when we reached dusty areas or when she was doing live shows on social media to protect her phone.
I was seated next to her and ended up appearing in her live video, being watched by thousands of people.
At some point, Bad Black involved me in her jazz, asking me different English words and their pronunciations, which kept it entertaining. Within minutes, my phone was buzzing with calls and messages from people telling me that they were watching me in Bad Black’s video.
That’s the power of her different social media platforms, she is one of the most followed Ugandans on TikTok with over 450,000 followers.
While on her TikTok live, Bad Black assured her fans that when she dies, there are guidelines that people have to follow at her vigil and burial.
She said whoever would want to bury or mourn her should make sure that they come smartly dressed, wearing nice perfume, makeup and outfits.
In between the humour, Bad Black shared memories of Isma, celebrating his life and the impact he had on her.
As we drove, Bad Black would occasionally pause to reflect on Isma’s life and share a motivational quote or two. Her words were a balm to the grieving passengers, and they helped to ease the pain of their loss.
The journey was not without its challenges, however. We encountered traffic along the way, but this didn’t cause us any delays as we reached on time for prayers, speeches and burial.
Arrival at the burial grounds
As we arrived at the burial grounds, the socialite’s infectious personality had lifted many low spirits. Everyone paused for a moment and heads turned to her until she took her seat. Bloggers, journalists and the residents were yearning to interview her, touch her or even take a picture with her.
Throughout the funeral service and speeches, Bad Black continued to share her positive energy, celebrating the beautiful moments she had shared with him.
Her words touched everyone’s hearts, reminding them of the joy and love Isma had brought into their lives.
Giving her farewell messages at the burial site where the atmosphere was sombre, and everyone was in tears, Bad Black, through interviews on different media platforms, was there to remind them that Isma’s life was worth more than mourning.
She gave a moving tribute, filled with funny stories and motivational religious quotes, and soon everyone was laughing
and smiling again.
The road trip to the burial was an unforgettable journey. Bad Black had shown everyone that even in the darkest of times, there is still room for laughter and joy.
Isma may be gone, but his memory will live on, thanks to the indomitable spirit of his friend Bad Black.
The writer is a journalist with New Vision, Kampala Sun and Urban TV