Jian Ndung’u still recalls with a shudder how he narrowly escaped death on August 21 last year.
“It was 6am. I was lying on the ground in Nairobi’s Zimmerman Estate, a few metres from the gate of a Presbyterian Church. I was surrounded by the mob that had beaten me nearly unconscious and put a tyre around my neck. In my subconscious state, I felt the warmth of petrol being poured over my body and heard a man ask for a matchbox,” he recalls.
But a voice spoke to him, telling him he would not die.
“The voice told me, ‘Do not fear, for I am with you. I will not let these people kill you. I have great plans for you and you will live to tell this story as a testimony to the greatness of your God,’” Ndung’u narrates, tears streaming down his cheeks at the memory.
He doubted the voice, considering that anytime now, a flaming matchstick would end his life.
“But when God is in control, never question his timing. I heard a woman warning the mob that if they killed me she would strip naked and anyone who dared look at her would be cursed,” he says.
The threat by the elderly woman, whom he has never seen again, saved him.
“The scene cleared. She raised me up by the hand and declared, ‘You shall live!’”
“Thank you, God. I will never doubt your power. You have power even over death. Thank you for giving me a chance to live,” he recalls praying silently.
The woman took him to Kenyatta National Hospital Hospital, where he was admitted and discharged a week later after he had recovered.
Ndung’u is convinced that no human power could have delivered him from the horrifying experience.
Born on August 21, 1992, Ndung’u had a difficult childhood.
“My parents were poor and we lived in a slum in Githurai 45. I was the second born and lost my dad when I was three months old. My mum, Mary Mumbi, became both mother and father to us, yet she was jobless,” he says.
To support Ndung’u and his older brother, she would wash clothes for people in the neighbourhood.
“Washing clothes to raise Sh300 rent for our shack, feed, clothe and educate us was tough,” he recalls.
But Ms Mumbi was determined to ensure her sons got an education and approached school administrators in the area and offered to work for free, as long as they were allowed to attend classes.