By Maria Nene
There has been a spate of deaths of key politicians in Kenya over the past two weeks. There are some who list July and August as cursed months owing to the number of deaths during that period. The death of former powerful cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott has brought with it rumors that he was a member of the Freemasons and other half-truths that I will spare you. We take a look as some bizarre burials in and outside the borders of Kenya.
Jacob Juma Burial
The late Jacob Juma was assassinated by unknown assailants last year. His death left many Kenyans in a haze of speculations. However, his Bukusu kinsmen decided to unravel the mystery surrounding his death even before the police had a chance of investigating it. Prior to his death, the businessman had revealed that there were some people after his life. The ritual called Khusisia was carried out by one of his brothers, Boyi Juma, who entered his grave before burying him. He muttered some binding ritualistic words before he left the burial hole. According to the tradition, Jacob Juma was also buried with a knife and torch. This was to avenge whoever had assassinated him in cold blood. It is not clear if the elaborate rituals have brought to justice whoever was behind his gruesome murder.
The late Nicholas Biwott’s funeral service was held on 18th July 2017. The man who came to be known as the ‘total man’ will be buried on Thursday, July 20th, 2017. A picture of a ‘bullet proof’ gold plated coffin surfaced on social media that had been shipped from the US that purportedly would be used by Nicholas Biwott. It has since been established that the coffin was used to bury Nigerian billionaire and Chairman of Chrome Group of Companies Chief Emeka Offor father.
The late Ivan Semwanga burial befitted a man of status. The coffin was sealed and no one got to view his body prior to his burial which is common among Africans. The Rich Gang leader’s grave was showered with money instead of soil and flowers which are normally thrown in the grave after the burial rites and before the grave sites are covered. His close friends also popped champagne on the grave side and poured some of it there.
Nabongo Japheth Wambani Rapando, Wanga King
It is an age old tradition to bury Wanga Kings while sitting on a chair, wrapped in animal skin and with a stool on their heads as a symbol of power. However, Nabongo Japheth Wambani Rapando had a coffin which was designed in a sitting position like a chair to ensure that he was buried in a modern way but he still upholding the culture of the Wanga. The Wanga is a sub-branch of the Luhya community who still have traditional kings.
The late Wangari Maathai was a passionate environmentalist. She was able to uphold her beliefs to death as she wasn’t buried in a casket made of wood as she felt it was detrimental to the environment to cut trees for whatever reason. The Noble Laureate’s body was carried in a Hyacinth casket which was made in Kisumu. She was then cremated at the Kariokor Crematorium but not before a countrywide tree planting ceremony was performed.
A Nigerian businessman was buried inside his Hummer. It was indeed a sight to behold when the black Hummer was driven inside the grave and eventually covered in soil. After the burial rites were made, the hummer was covered with money and the grave was then covered.
However, it is not very surprising as some West Africans are known to be buried in a casket which represents the person’s career when he was alive. Most of these people prepare custom made caskets even before they think about dying. In these communities, it is like a will to have your casket fashioned to your career before you die. A fishermen’s casket may resemble a boat or a fish, a furniture makers casket may resemble a seat and a lot more.