Ms. Keni Adwok Nyaba was born in Juba on April 22nd1978. She was the first born of Abuk Papiti Ayik and Peter Adwok Nyaba.
Keni went to school in
· Shadarak Kamlel Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya,
· Bombo Secondary School in Bombo, Uganda.
· Attended United States International University (USIU), Nairobi Campus. She graduated with Bachelor of Arts (BA) in International Relations (2004).
· Undertook postgraduate studies (2013) in the Boston University, Metropolitan College, Brussels, Belgium in which she was awarded MSc in Leadership and Project Management;
· Upon graduation fron the USIU, Keni worked as an Intern with PACT (Sudan) 2004 – 2005, before being sent together with the bulk of SPLM leaders and cadres for training and orientation in South Africa, following the signing of the CPA (2005).
· She worked as a Programme Associate with UNDP between January and August 2006.
· She then joined the Ministry of Regional Cooperation in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) in January 2007, where she worked briefly in the Ministry’s H/Qs before being posted to the Mission of the Government of Southern Sudan to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.
· In July 2011, on the independence, the Mission was upgraded to the Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan to the Kingdom of Belgium in 2011. Keni became the First Secretary in the Embassy and remained in that position until August 2014, when she was summarily dismissed together with some of her colleagues.
Keni suffered a stroke and went into coma on January 19, 2016. She was diagnozed with inflammation and infection on the right side of her brain, a condition that was not known before. Consequent to this stroke, she suffered partial paralysis and loss of speech and remained in that condition for seven weeks. On the eight week, she came out of the coma, became conscious of her surroundings but unable to speak.
Then suddenly, on the day of bombing in Brussels, Keni regained her speech. I was able to speak to her while her mother held the cell phone. We believed she was on her way to recovery. Perhaps, that was God’s work to bid us farewell because soon after her condition relapsed and deteriorated until she passed away on Friday April 8, 2016. May the Lord rest her soul in eternal peace
Many people who engaged with Keni in her professional work or in social functions, describe her as professional and diligent, intelligent, friendly, dignified and courageously and brutally honest. Keni would not fear to tell, one in the face, what she thought was right.
As parents, Abuk and I will not be able to evaluate our daughter. Her peers would know and can evaluate her objectively. One of her colleague in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Baak Wol, on hearing of her demise had this to say on Facebook.
“My dearest sister Keni, I was shocked and saddened to learn of your untimely passing this morning in Brussels, Belgium, and I pray to the Almighty God to shower you with forgiveness and rest your soul in eternal peace in the company of Angels of the Lord. You were too young, and you left us too soon, but you will be missed dearly and remembered for your camaraderie, infectious giggles, unrivalled courage, and yet your measured sense of adventure. But most importantly for your mature and responsible attitude towards work and life, and your abundant love and commitment to friends and family. We will remember you as a very clever young girl, a great debater and a rising Diplomat. Please R.I.P.”
There were hundreds of such messages that give us pride as parents. Keni’s youngest sister Suzan had this to say ‘in loving memory of my sister Keni’,“I can’t call you on the phone any more to tell you my joy and sadness, but I will call you in my heart; I will talk to you everyday and share everything. I will surely miss your warm presence. Till we meet again”
As a family, we will definitely miss Keni. However, we mourn Keni, not in a special way we would have loved to do as in our tradition and custom, but just like hundreds or thousand of her compatriots lost untimely in this situation of war, some of who did not receive decent burial, with tears in our eyes, we say …. good bye….. good bye Keni…. till we meet again!!
Many people visited us in our mourning places in Juba, Nairobi and Khartoum. Many sent letters and messages of condolence on different discussion fora, and many posted messages on the facebook, messenger and viber and on whatsapp and the discussion boards like DPF and CYF. I saw hundreds in the graveyard on Tuesday when we laid her to rest. Many hundreds continued to come to sepnd spend the night or visit to comfort us during the last four days.
On Friday, April 22 we held the last prayers for the soul of Keni. The services was conducted by priests from the Catholic Diocese of Malakal. Keni’s colleagues in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation came to pay tribute and eulogize her. Mothers came to talk of their pains bringing up children who instead would have been expected to bury their parents are now being burried by parents. We were honoured to have leaders of political parties, government ministers, legislators and members of the public. Keni’s funderal pulled a huge crowd of about three thousand across ethnic and regional lines. It reminded Abuk nd I that we were not alone; many people stood with us in this grief. This solidarity has touched our hearts. It has lessened and minimized our sense of grief and sorrow.
I want to thank all and sunder for this solidarity. God bless you!!
Peter Adwok Nyaba
Juba, April 24, 2016.
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