A TRIBUTE TO EVANS N’GANG’A. DANCER, DESIGNER, DEDICATED ARTIST

A TRIBUTE TO EVANS N’GANG’A BY Margaretta wa Gacheru. Published Friday in Zuqka, Daily Nation of 29th March 2013 Evans N’gang’a was buried on Friday, March 22nd and I am sorry to say I only learned about his passing the day before when I saw the poster one of his friends had put up on the bulletin board of Alliance Francaise. To hear that the Kenyan cultural community has been robbed of such a young and multi-talented artist is deeply disturbing, especially when you hear he died in a road accident. More precisely, some careless driver who was over-speeding on Limuru Road smashed into the back of the boda boda motorcycle N’gang’a was seated on; he was on his way to teach his Yoga Class at the Windsor Hotel in the early morning hours of the week before. It was such a senseless way to die, and one that has broken many hearts of all the friends that Ng’ang’a had. Many of his nearest and dearest friends were artists like himself. Quite a few were his colleagues who hung out with him at The GoDown Art Center where he regularly rehearsed his modern dance. Others were his yoga students, and many more were his clients and customers who were fans of Ng’ang’a’s custom-made beaded jewelry. In fact, it was as a jewelry designer that I knew Ng’ang’a the best. I loved asking him to make me colorful beaded chokers and earrings and rings. I used to buy them both to wear myself and to give to family and friends as special gifts. What’s more, I was happy to hear he was expanding his line of bead designs to include beaded hand-bags that were both beautiful and quite practical as well. What impressed me about Ng’ang’a the jewelry designer was his dedication to detail as well as the care he took to create patterns that required painstaking attention and time. His jewelry designs were always distinctive and elegant. But I always felt that Ng’ang’a’s first love was contemporary dance. He identified more as a dancer than a designer, but then he was a young man with an abundance of artistic skills and talents. The saddest thing about his demise, apart from the hole he has left in so many people’s hearts, is that Ng’ang’a was just approaching his prime, just beginning to feel perfectly comfortable in his groove—as a teacher of the ancient art of yoga, as a contemporary dancer and as a jewelry designer who was never able to fully supply the demand that the public made on him for more of his beautiful bead designs. I am grateful that I still have a few of the necklaces, earrings and rings that Ng’ang’a made especially for me. I had been planning to call him to request for him to make me more chokers, but alas, I will have to make do with just the jewelry he left behind with me. You can be assured I will cherish those pieces and always remember Evans Ng’ang’a fondly and wish he was still around. He will be sorely missed, I know.

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