Police open probe on tech guru’s death
Police have launched investigations into the death of former LinkedIn Africa boss Thogori Chege Karago, who was found dead in her hotel room in Nairobi. Thogori’s body was discovered on January 21.
She was 33. Preliminary investigations show she was suffering from diabetes and was on medication. Her room was found locked from inside.
She was alone. Kilimani police boss Muturi Mbogo said the deceased did not have any physical injuries at that time.
“There are indications she was diabetic but that is subject to further investigations. For now, we treat it as natural and sudden death,” he said.
Following her death, thousands of people continued to send their condolences to the tech guru family friends and relatives.
According to her website, Thogori was the founder of SpeakEasy, a content creator accelerator and marketplace which focused on amplifying the voices of women and children creators.
She was also a senior software engineer, a highly sought after start-up angel investor, product manager, advisor and sat on the advisory board of six start-ups led by minority founders.
On top of her achievements was her former role as the Senior Software Engineer & Product Manager at LinkedIn and the Head of Research and Development for the African continent.
In this role, Thogori was in charge of overseeing LinkedIn’s growth on the African continent with the vision to create economic opportunity for every member of the African workforce.
Prior to this, Thogori led the monetisation team on subscriptions products at LinkedIn, where her team worked on connecting job seekers with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in today’s hiring marketplace.
“She loves building technology products that positively impact people’s’ lives.
Having grown up in Nairobi, Kenya, she is particularly passionate about doing so in developing countries,” indicated the website.
She was also the co-founder and CTO of Pink Coconuts, an LGBTQIA+ travel community and platform.
According to her partner in business and life, tech entrepreneur, designer and human rights advocate from Barbados, Donnya Pigott or Zi, Thogori, or T as they called her was an effervescent soul who was open and kind to every person she met.
“She wanted to give to the LGBTQ community and that’s why she was drawn to the purpose of Pink Coconuts too. She wanted to improve the lives of black people across the world. She cared deeply about black women, artistes and creators and LGBTQ people,” she says.
The two met at Tech Beach in Jamaica in 2018 and made it official in 2020. During the pandemic, Zi recalls flying all the way from Barbados to be with her in Africa.
While Zi worked on Pink Coconuts, a startup she created before she met T, they worked on their ideas separately. Thogori was working on her startup called Speak Easy, a platform and community for Black Women creators and Children.
“She loved Tik Tok, the dances, the music, the jokes…she called herself a tiktok activist because of the joy it brought to her and to people. She was also an amazing public speaker. T loved adventure and she loved children and children loved her,” she adds.
Inspired many Thogori was recognised by Forbes as one of the women changing culture, industry and the face of tech, making the list of top 30 under 30 in 2018 which according to Zi, it was something that she was proud of.
Here in Kenya, the tech world too is mourning her death. Digital Lenders Association chairman Kevin Mutiso said Thogori’s death is a big blow to the tech world. “Thogori was a pioneer in the IT field and an inspiration to many and a dear friend.
Personally, she was kind to me when I was in San Francisco where she offered me a tour of the Linked in headquarters and that inspired me greatly to try and build billion dollar businesses in Africa. In addition to that, she exposed me to her network that I will be forever grateful for.
She loved my daughter too and always gave her books that would make her know that women could achieve what they set their mind to. For me, I have lost a friend and the tech ecosystem has lost a pioneer,” he said.
“I proposed and she said yes and we applied to be married. We went to the US to make it official. Health complications interrupted our relationship, but we still wore rings. Our love was the most beautiful thing I’ve experienced,” she recalls.