Kwaheri Steve

28 November 2017 | Inside Angama |

Despite the pouring rain – considered a blessing on important days in Maasailand – family, friends, staff, community members, young and old, gathered from far and wide to say farewell to Steve

The time had come to bid Steve goodbye high up on the edge of the Great Rift Valley at a place he loved more than any other. And it was a day of days …

Early in the morning on Thursday 16 November we headed down into the lovely Mara Triangle just as the sun broke through the horizon on a Silent Safari in Steve’s honour. This beautiful experience was a thank-you to Steve from Graham and Emily Wallington of WildEarth and safariLIVE presenter extraordinaire James Hendry. We rolled slowly down the escarpment where we were greeted by a small herd of buffalo, Steve’s favourite animals. He always claimed they look at you as if you owe them money. Brand new topis were trying out their gangly legs and a family of warthogs with the tiniest piglets dashed for cover. It was a perfect Mara morning. After two hours of meandering about we headed back up the hill where a giraffe sat sentinel watching us go by.

Buffalo

The Angama family had planned for Steve’s memorial service to be held on a beautiful site overlooking the Mara, the Out of Africa kopje and the Oloololo Escarpment. It was all set up and then the black clouds started rolling in from Lake Victoria. ‘No problem’ said Azei, our unflappable lodge operations manager, ‘we will set up in South Camp’ – with only 20 minutes to spare.

People-with-candles

Steve had firmly instructed us that he wanted a Big Funeral. And big he got, up there in Maasailand. Over 300 people, many sopping wet, squeezed into South Camp guest area for his farewell service – there wasn’t a square inch to spare. We prayed, we sang, we danced, we lit candles, we remembered, we cried, we laughed and we paid tribute to a man deeply loved and deeply missed by all. Janet, one of our askaris, rocked out the songs; the contractors who built the lodge (Steve’s favourite KC’s) even boogied a bit; guests gave up their game drive to celebrate with us; Pastor Mary from the Safari Shop led the service; the guides wore T shirts printed especially for the occasion (and stole the show in doing so); Simon, headmaster from Emurutoto Primary School gave thanks on behalf of the community; last to speak was Steve’s dear friend Governor Samuel Tunai who braved the worst weather possible flying in to pay tribute him; and if that wasn’t enough emotion for the day, the school children sang and danced the service to a close.

The-guides

Steve would have loved every moment of it. Angama Mara was his dream and how thankful we all are for his beautiful swan song. We will treasure it for always.

Rest in peace beloved Steve.

Nicky

Note from the Editor: Our heartfelt thanks to safariLIVE for filming both the Silent Safari and Steve’s memorial service.

FILED UNDER: Inside Angama
TAGGED WITH: ,

ABOUT: Nicky Fitzgerald

After more than 30 years in hospitality, starting with a small hotel at the foot of Africa and followed by a further couple of Cape hotels, most notably The Bay, and sixty plus safari lodges across Africa and India, Nicky has served more meals, puffed more cushions, filled more beds, trained more staff and opened more properties than she cares to remember. Her driving force is ‘will our guests love this?’ She has come full circle and is happily puffing, cooking, training and filling to her heart’s content high up on the edge of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley at Angama Mara.

COMMENTS (33)
Will Taylor
November 28, 2017

what a wonderful send off – Steve would have loved it deeply. We love you Nicky and by extension every soul in that room saying goodbye to our hero…

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    Nicky Fitzgerald
    November 28, 2017

    Thank you dearest Will – he would have adored it …

    REPLY
Paige
November 28, 2017

“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
My Lovelies, So sad to learn this news and so filled with gratitude to have spent time with Steve and the Angama family when the dream was coming to fruition. What an amazing life and legacy. My thoughts, love and prayers with all of you. xo Paige

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    Nicky Fitzgerald
    November 29, 2017

    Thank you dearest Paige – this is beautiful. I have shared with the crazy crew from when we opened and I know they will be so happy to hear from you. Please come back soon and be a proper guest this time – no trimming of loo brushes 🙂

    REPLY
Shari Provenzano
November 28, 2017

I watched the memorial service and it was so beautiful- filled with laughter , love and tears. Reading your blog Nicky was inspirational. You have such a way with words and they conveyed such a sweet and emotional send off . Kwaheri Steve.

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    Nicky Fitzgerald
    November 29, 2017

    Thank you for the beautiful message dear Shari – you are a special member of the Angama family and we treasure that dearly

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Sara
November 28, 2017

I was there in spirit and so glad it was such a success.. Til we meet again. God bless
Sara x

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    Nicky Fitzgerald
    November 29, 2017

    Thank you dear Sara

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James Fitzgerald
November 28, 2017

Brilliant Nicks – well done.
What a day it was – how moving to experience how loved he was!

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    Nicky Fitzgerald
    November 29, 2017

    Thank you for coming all the way from Cape Town to wish him goodbye

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Peter Farnell-Watson
November 28, 2017

Brava Nicky – so apt, precise and beautifully written – we miss him deeply and we too will make a silent prayer to him when we pass down the escarpment on our visit next year. Asante sana Steve

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    Nicky Fitzgerald
    November 29, 2017

    Thank you dear Peter – Steve will never be far from especially especially in the Mara , a place he loved above all others

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Martin Njage
November 29, 2017

A very fitting tribute and send off to a true gentleman. Steve you will live forever in our hearts.

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Annette Magni
November 29, 2017

I watched it all & really felt I was there with you Nicks. A truly wonderful farewell to such a special man; dearest Steve, I will miss you so

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    Nicky Fitzgerald
    November 29, 2017

    I so wish you had been there – it was a beautiful farewell

    REPLY
Gordon Sims
November 29, 2017

What a lovely send off to an amazing man. He loved Africa and his family equally. He will always be a part of who I am today. Hope to make it to Angama soon and see you again Nicky – lots of love xxx

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    Nicky Fitzgerald
    November 29, 2017

    Thank you for this lovely message, Gordon and we very much look forward to welcoming you to the Mara

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    Nicky Fitzgerald
    December 1, 2017

    Thank you for this lovely post dear Gordon

    REPLY
James Currie
November 29, 2017

Dearest Nicky and the entire Angama family. Steve meant so much to so many people but he was so more than that. He shaped the way so many of us interact and thrive in the safari world. A visionary, a leader and a true hero of mine and so many others. Thanks to you Nicks and all at Angama for sharing this moving farewell with all of us that couldn’t be there.

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    Nicky Fitzgerald
    December 1, 2017

    Dear James
    Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Steve – we will all treasure it.
    We miss him so …

    REPLY
Tessa and Harris Gordon
November 29, 2017

Loving thoughts from Harris and Tessa in Cape Town

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    Nicky Fitzgerald
    December 1, 2017

    Thank you dear Tessa and Gordon

    REPLY
    Nicky Fitzgerald
    December 3, 2017

    Thank you so much

    REPLY
Lara Tranter
November 30, 2017

What a beautiful tribute to such a wonderful man who lived an incredible life! He was blessed in so many ways. He will be remembered always.
Sending you lots of love and a big hug Nicky ❤️

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Lisa Grainger
November 30, 2017

Sounds like a perfect send off. Love from Londonxxx

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Roxanne
December 2, 2017

What a wonderful tribute to a very special man! I joined facebook the day before so we could watch the live feed – was really a special honor:) Hope we can say a silent homage to Steve if back at Angama in the future! Love from Medicine Hat

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Nicky Fitzgerald
December 3, 2017

Dear Roxanne
Please come back – I will go with you on this homage and if we are allowed to speak just a little we will share all the stories about our travels together.
Warmest – Nicky

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Glenn Oltmanns
December 3, 2017

Dearest Nicky what a very special tribute to the man you loved so well. Xxxxx

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    Nicky Fitzgerald
    December 4, 2017

    Thank you, dear Glen

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George Tucker
December 11, 2017

Dear Nicky,
The news of Steve’s passing just reached me here in Mexico and I am still in shock. Glad he had the fitting farewell he so well deserved. I regret I didn’t get to see him in June .
You have my deepest sympathies,
George

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    Nicky Fitzgerald
    December 11, 2017

    Dear George
    Thak you so much for your kind message about Steve.
    We all miss him so.
    Warm regards
    Nicky

    REPLY
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