Most people do not know that he is not a student because he is always around campus as though he is. He does not pretend to be a student, but he fits in the campus community perfectly because he is young and intelligent. Everyone likes Jimi. He is jovial and pleasant to be around. He attends most of the fun events that involve students, and he networks across the board. It is part of his strategy to get business, but it is also because he genuinely loves people and thrives in crowds.
Jimi is a photographer.
When the Christian Union holds an event, they always turn to Jimi for the photos. When they held a Worship Experience recently, for instance, he was the official photographer at the event. He even tagged a videographer friend to ensure that the event was recorded. He was all pious and speaking Christianese during the entire evening. Two weeks later, another group was hosting a beer party. Again, Jimi was at the center of it, snapping photos, cracking jokes, kissing willing girls and taking the occasional beer. When the University’s Rugby team won a minor tournament recently, Jimi was there, snapping photos of the players in action, leading the cheering squad and indulging himself in the party that followed. He has intricately weaved himself into the campus life in such a way that most students consider him to be one of their own.
Jimi knows how to charm his way into people’s lives. He is a young man of average weight and build with a boyish grin permanently plastered on his face. He is good-looking, and is always very smartly dressed. He drives a Toyota Vitz, but that is a status symbol in itself amongst the mostly broke students. He runs a small photo studio in town, but since he is hardly ever there during the day, it is his assistant who mans the shop, taking passport photos, and doing printing and photocopy jobs. Jimi tells his friends that he processes the photos that he takes early in the morning. He is an early riser.
Jimi is also a minor social media influencer. He has amassed 18,000 followers on Facebook, 41,000 on Instagram and 12,000 on X, formerly Twitter. The numbers are enough for him to get jobs to promote brands for a fee.
Jimi of course attracts a lot of female attention. A fun loving, good-looking, hardworking young man who is obviously making some money is bound to attract attention. He is always flocked by girls of all kinds, but he is smart enough not to have an official girlfriend. He is said to be a ‘player’, but that does not deter girls. Many are always trying to pin him down into a relationship, and some have even attempted to get pregnant with him. But Jimi has somehow remained unattached for as long as anybody can remember.
There is one girl that everyone knows he cares about though: Edith.
Edith is a beautiful girl. She is short, plump and dark skinned, with lovely face. She is quite the opposite of Jimi. She is shy and reserved, and a bookworm. She keeps to herself most of the time, hiding in the library to study and in the few times she is in social gatherings, it is usually in Christian Union gatherings. Unlike most of the girls Jimi associates with, Edith did not seek him out. She is far too shy for that. He is the one who reached out to her.
He first noticed her about seven months ago. He had decided to attend a Christian Union service, and he happened to sit next to her. As is often his habit, he tried to flirt with her as the choir was singing, but she ignored him. That only worked to pique his interest. After the service he offered to take her out for lunch but she politely declined and then fled to her room.
Jimi became intrigued, to the point of almost becoming obsessed. That day and the days that followed he thought about nothing except her. He knew that direct approaches would only work to alienate her from him even further, so he chose a different path. He studied her habits carefully and when he realized that she was obsessed with the library, he made the place his second home. He generally chose books related to film making and always made sure he sat next to her.
When he got to know the course she was pursuing and the units she was taking that semester, he crammed the study materials for the unit as well. One day, he approached her as she left the library. They had been sitting next to each other in the library for almost a month, but they hardly ever spoke to each other.
“Hi Edith, can I ask you something?”
She looked at him suspiciously and hesitated.
“It is school related, I promise. You are taking a unit called Colonial History, aren’t you?”
She seemed surprised that he knew this detail, but he had her attention. The way to a bookworm’s heart is through the brain.
“Yes, I am. What do you wish to know?”
“I saw somewhere that South Africa attained Independence in 1910 but I really don’t understand how that works. I thought they attained Independence in 1994?”
Edith’s eyes lit up and Jimi knew that he had hit the mark.
“Many people get confused by that question, but it really is very simple,” she began. “You see, colonialization is the state in which a country or territory is ruled by another country. So, when we talk about Independence, we are talking about breaking free from the colonizing country.
What happened in Africa was that there were many Europeans who came to settle here, and these territories where ruled by the European nations. For instance, here in Kenya, we had the likes of Lord Delamere settling here, and the Governor of Kenya was being controlled by the British Government in London.
What happened in South Africa was that in 1910, the Lord Delameres of that place managed to get some autonomy from Britain. The gained control over their internal affairs. That is what we call Madaraka in Kenya, what we got on 1st June 1963. In 1931, South Africa became a fully independent sovereign nation.”
“So, what happened in 1994?” Jimi asked, even though he knew the answer. But talking to Edith was exciting and he didn’t want her to lose interest in the conversation.
“The whites who were ruling South Africa were considered South Africans, and not Britons or Dutchmen. It is the same way white settlers in Kenya were considered Kenyans. But they were the minority. Black indigenous people were the majority. But this white settler minority that was ruling the country was discriminating against the black majority. I am sure you know about apartheid.”
“Yes, I do. I have actually read a bit about Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Steve Biko and other anti-apartheid heroes.”
“Yes. That struggle led to the attainment of black majority rule in 1994, with Mandela as President. What happened in 1994 was the attainment of black majority rule, not independence.”
“This is very enlightening. So the likes of Nelson Mandela were not freedom fighters strictly speaking?”
“They were. But theirs was a different kind of freedom. It was freedom of the black majority from oppression by the white minority. You know, Southern Rhodesia, now called Zimbabwe, had a similar situation. A guy called Ian Smith declared independence from Britain in 1965, but that story is more complicated than the South African one.”
“What happened? Why don’t we take coffee at the student café as you explain this to me? It is very intriguing.”
Edith agreed, and Jimi knew that he had found a way into her heart. She might be introverted, but her head was full of information that needed an outlet. Engaging her at this level was the gateway to her heart. They talked for hours that day. They even ended up talking about photography and film making. Within a week, they had become friends and he got her number.
Edith has been missing for a week now. The matter has been reported to the police, advertisements have been placed on social media and even on mainstream media but nothing has come up yet. The last time she was seen was on Saturday. She told her roommate that she was going to do shopping for personal items, but she has not been seen since.
Jimi is even more worried because he knows where she might be. He knows that Jackie is probably behind her disappearance. And that fills Jimi with a lot of guilt. He fell in love with Edith, and in that way, he put her in harms way. He should have steered clear of her and loved her from a distance. But he didn’t, and now she is in danger…probably even dead.
Jackie is Jimi’s sugar mummy. She is a 62-year-old widow, and a wealthy business lady. She is an accountant by profession, but her father was a wealthy businessman. She and her sister inherited a multi-million estate, and Jackie has grown her share significantly. She married a man from one of the elite political families, under her father’s influence, but it is said that the marriage was rocky. Her husband died under mysterious circumstances, and there were murmurs that she may have had a hand in his death, but there was never any proof of that. Not that the police pursued that line of investigation. Jackie inherited even more wealth from her husband. To her credit, she is a very hardworking and intelligent woman, and the wealth she inherited from her father and husband was only the foundation for what is now her multi-billion business portfolio.
Jackie is a reclusive billionaire, but she does have a lot of behind the curtains influence. She also has a ruthless streak, and can be very jealous. She made it clear to Jimi, when they started sleeping together two years ago, that she did not have a problem if he slept with younger girls, provided he used protection.
There were only two conditions. The first is that he was not supposed to have any other sugar mommy, whether young or old. He could only sleep with broke girls. The second was that he was not allowed to fall in love with anyone, broke or not. He breached that rule when he fell in love with Edith. He tried to be careful, but it seems that somehow Jackie found out.
Jimi knows that it is Jackie’s mercenaries who grabbed Edith.
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