I first met Ann Kamoni in 2014 at the Nation Media Group after being hired to work for the defunct Nairobi News newspaper. We became instant friends!
Perhaps, she felt that I needed someone to hold my hand having just arrived in the big city for the first time as an adult, with no sense of direction. In my case, I was attracted to how easy she took life.
You see, when you really got to know Ann, it was impossible for you not to get hooked to her lively character, which was only known to those who were lucky enough to be in her inner circle.
'Kamum', as she was fondly called by her close friends, knew the city like the back of her hand, including people who preach water and drink wine, when they believe that no one is watching them.
If only she would have decided to author a tell-all book, I know some people would be sweating bullets as to what she would reveal. To those who did not get an opportunity to know her personally, Ann cuts the image of a timid girl who spooks easily.
But the truth of the matter is that she was courage personified and one of the toughest people I have ever met. A true believer of living today like it's your last day. When times were tough and we had no idea where to get bus fare, she would always give me a smile and tell me not to worry. "Something will come up," she always reassured. And indeed, the day would not end before our lady luck came calling.
KNOWLEDGE ON PHOTOGRAPHY
Her knowledge on photography was unmatched. She could be out all night with friends but still deliver the best pictures to the photo editor the next morning.
Ann's soft spot was reserved for only one man in her life: Her son whom she loved unconditionally. Once she invited me to her house at Kinoo in Kiambu where she laid out well done chapati for me. That's the day I got to witness first-hand what kind of a doting mum she was. Ann took her last click at life on Sunday on Mashujaa Day, for indeed she was a hero in her own right.
Before joining NMG, the East African School of Journalism alumnus had worked for The Standard newspaper. She left NMG and worked in the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga's office.
Tributes poured in for the fallen photographer, led by friends and colleagues who were had the privilege of working with her.
"She will be greatly missed. She was sprightly with an infectious smile. She was a photographer par excellence and her contribution to the trade cannot be gainsaid. May she rest in peace," said Daily Nation News Editor Francis Wanyonyi, who worked with her at Nairobi News newspaper.
"Ann was a jovial person, always ready to greet you with a smile. She was hardworking, with a bright future ahead of her. It's unfortunate that she has left us so soon," said Daily Nation Political and Parliamentary Editor Lucas Barasa.
"She loved listening to Judy Boucher Sadly she will never listen to that again Fare thee well Ann Kamoni This still looks like a bad dream," said Don Victor. "Dennis Onyango, who had brought her to work briefly for Raila Odinga as a photographer, and from where I got acquainted to her, tells me she leaves behind a daughter (Ann leaves behind a son). Ann Kamoni is a good soul. I wish her rest," said blogger Disembe Dikembe.
"May you rest in the arms of the Lord who formed you from the dust of the earth? My friend Ann Kamoni, may Christ who died for you admit you into His garden of paradise. May Christ, the true Shepherd, embrace you as one of His flock? May He forgive all your sins and set you among those he has chosen. RIP Ann Kamoni," said Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)'s Director of Communications Philip Etale.
"Yenyewe death frees us from even ourselves. RIP Ann Kamoni," said Daniel Muhuni.