Kottia Tsotsi was a newly married hard working young man when storms hit his life and took away three most precious things – his mother, his job and his health. In all the trials and tribulations he has gone through, Kottia has held onto his strong faith. He believes God moves in at your weakest point to imprint His image and authority and carry out His works in you. Kottia narrated his experience to MWAURA MUIGANA.
Kottia Tsotsi was a household name in the local theatre scene until seven years ago. He spent the better part of his life writing, directing and producing stage and audio plays, as well as films. He has directed drama and stage plays at the French Cultural Centre now Alliance Francaise, the National Theatre, German Cultural Centre now Goethe Institute and the American Cultural Centre.
One of his plays, Dilemma, won an award and was translated into German and aired by Radio WDR, Cologne, Germany. It was also published in Germany and in the Anthology of African Radio Plays.
Kottia, a graduate of Christian Leadership University in New Mexico, USA, has also traversed the country and beyond to other African countries producing dramatised audio bibles for Audio Scripture Ministries and the Bible Society of Kenya. He was very passionate about his work, often working several hours in the studio without rest. However, all this came to an abrutpt end when storms hit his life. The last seven years have been hell on earth for him.
When I met him in his house for this interview, he reminded me of Job in the bible. I couldn’t help drawing the parallel. Like Job, Kottia had been deeply involved in the ministry of evangelism and had a good time with God. Like Job, he had been blessed with a good career, doing whatever came his way with great passion.
At the height of his career, Kottia was the programmes director for an American company, Audio Scripture Ministries based in Nairobi and made a lucrative income. His way of showing gratitude to God for all that He had done in his life was immersing himself in the ministry. Like Job, he was tested with his body, family and wealth. One by one he lost everything he cherished, save for his dear wife, Edith Kottia, who has remained steadfast, holding the fort in turbulent moments.
She has taken the mantle since her husband became indisposed and remained the pillar of their home. Despite losing many of the things he treasured, Kottia has remained strong in faith looking up to God for blessings rather than questioning Him for the many trials that have come his way.
The storms in Kottia’s life started on August 25, 2002. He was busy in the studio editing the dramatised audio bible in the Kiswahili language when a friend called and said he was on the way to pick him because he was needed home urgently. He felt anxious and disturbed. His friend took him to his office and the first thing he did once they were seated was to say a prayer. Kottia immediately knew that something was drastically wrong and his friend was the bearer of the bad news. And indeed he was.
Kottia’s mother was one of five women from ACK church, Limuru, who had perished in a road accident on Limuru Road in the outskirts of Nairobi that morning. Her death was not only a big blow to Kottia but also psychologically devastating. He was very close to his mother and could not fathom a life without her. He had also been recently married and was so sad that his mother didn’t live to see his family grow.
To divert his mind from the sadness of losing his mother he immersed himself deeper into his work, often spending twelve hours in the studio without rest. But there was more bad news as he lost his job when the Audio Scripture Ministries, Nairobi, abruptly closed shop. He loved his job and this was another big loss. Now, he not only had to cope with the loss of his dear mother, but also the loss of an income and doing what he loved most – working with a Christian organisation doing editing work.
He got a job with Hope FM as a producer in August 2005 but he had lost his enthusiasm for work. He was also battling a number of health issues, the most disturbing being frequent dizziness episodes. These were accompanied by loss of balance and muscle weakness. He would often bump onto things, sometimes ending up on the floor for no explained reason.
When the muscle weakness deteriorated and walking became a problem, his wife took him to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). By this time he had lost his job due to his health issues. Various tests were done, including X-rays but the doctors couldn’t identify what was ailing him. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test also failed to show the problem. The doctors recommended an operation to find out what the problem was but Kottia and his wife decided to seek a second opinion.
They consulted a doctor at the Nairobi Hospital who also ran various tests as he suspected the problem was in his spinal cord. He recommended another MRI to confirm his suspicion. The cost for this was Ksh 25,000, which his wife couldn’t raise alone but friends and family members assisted. However, this MRI did not show anything. They were back to square one without a diagnosis.
He was asked to give the doctor some time to consult with other doctors and in the meantime his wife employed a physiotherapist to help him with mobility and improve blood circulation on his lower body, which had become very weak. But instead of improving, his condition got worse with physiotherapy and they had to stop it.
When they went back to see the doctor he was diagnosed with gradual muscle and nerve collapse. He was completely numb from waist down. He was admitted to hospital for care and treatment of his deteriorating condition. He was discharged when he was well enough to go back home but it was frustrating that he did not know what disease had struck him. He tried all manner of treatments including herbal remedies and when they all failed, he turned to God in prayer.
Kottia figured out that God was the ultimate healer and believed that from Him healing will come. Instead of wallowing in self-pity he decided to use his intact mind and speech to encourage other people. Any one who came to visit him left his house with words of hope and encouragement. He did not allow anyone to pity him.
While his mobility has improved a little as he can move around the house supporting himself on walls and furniture, he is hopeful that one day he will walk again, and also return to work. The journey has been long and traumatising but he is lucky to have his wife Edith who has been at his side all this time.
Published on February 2013