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Burial unusual

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Romours that people dying of coronavirus in European nations were being cremated was enough to create panic and fear that the same would happen in Kenya. And while it’s still a wait-and-see situation, should the government’s directive for cremation for fear of spreading the diseases be the norm, the pandemic would have disrupted a major cultural rite.

Over the years, the topic of cremation has been a subject of debate bringing both cultural and religious beliefs to the fore.

“Africans believe that cremation is taboo and that fire is linked to total destruction. Destroying the body stops the person from being joined with the ancestors who have influence amongst the living. A proper burial site in a grave that is constantly taken care of brings good luck to the family,” notes Gladys Nyachieo, a sociologist.

Already, burial norms are being disrupted, creating confusion, pain and even anger. The recent burial of James Onyango, who succumbed to Covid-19, in Siaya, has caused a furore on social media. Oyugi was wrapped in body bags and buried within hours of his death, causing Kenyans to question about the dignity of the dead. This comes at a time when photos of burials from the West, where deceased are put in coffins and prayers are conducted with just a few family members seen to be the norm.

Rushed service

Sophie Wanjiku went home to bury her uncle during this period in Tinga’ng’a village in Kiambu county. However, due to the restrictions, instead of the usual large number of mourers, only a few came.

Sophia Wanjiku and her grandmother ahead of a relative’s burial. COURTESY

“We were less than 10 people at the mortuary to receive the body. There was no viewing of the body. There wasn’t much to do, only a short prayer then proceeding to the burial site in the village,” she narrates.

In many African cultures, a huge number people often come to pay their last respect to the dead. They believe it would bring bad luck if someone misses a funeral, especially that of an elder. Funerals are also not rushed, allowing people to spend as much time with the bereaved family for the dead to be pleased and so that no misfortune follows mourners afterwards. However, Sophia feels sad about how rushed the process was due to the virus.

“The church conducted the service in a record 30 minutes, with less than 20 people present. No tributes, no speeches, only the reading of the eulogy, a very short sermon, vote of thanks, no surrounding the coffin for special family prayers, and within no time, the procession proceeded to the grave site,” she says.

As is normally the case, in the African culture, young men and older men ready to pick the shovels and inter the body. However, this time round, because of limited number of people, both women and men had to participate in covering the grave with soil. While it has no symbolism in the Kikuyu culture other than the fact that men are strong enough to do it, in some communities such as the Luo, men with pregnant wives are often barred from digging the grave as their wives would have premature births. Twins are also not allowed to do so as it brings bad luck.

No food was served to the few guests at Sophie’s uncle’s funeral, and soon after the short burial, it was time to go home. While some communities believe in spending and celebrating to send off the dead and to appease the ancestors, Sophie is glad the budget was kept at minimum. The major cost was the hearse and transport of the body from mortuary to home.

“I don’t think there’s any custom that was bypassed. Among the Kikuyu, especially my family most rituals are usually after the burial including deciding what happens in his home, and to his property. Those were not affected in any way,” she says.

The case is different for James Onyango, who lost his father after an illness on April 2. The former teacher, aged 102, had manygrandchildren, and close relatives would have wanted to have all those who mattered to him be there on his final day. However, the burial took place one day after he was pronounced dead and without fanfare.

Bulls and he-goats “In the good old days, bulls and goats would have been the hallmark of the celebration reminiscing his exploits that spanned three decades. Being an elder, in the Kisii culture means his remains spend at least one night at his home before he was laid to rest, but it wasn’t done, “he explains.

The funeral was so brief that only family members, as per the government’s directive, were permitted to bury the old man. With the aim of maintaining social distance, kin avoided embracing or shaking hands, something ingrained in African traditions, especially for mourners.

Though painful and difficult, Onyango believes this disruption will only happen during this pandemic and once it’s all over, those diehard conservatives, will continue to uphold the old-age rituals.

However, Nyachieo for sees a new cultural order once the pandemic is over. According to her, people will continue doing what was deemed as a taboo once they see no negative consequence.

“They always say behaviour forms after 21 days. Whenever people find that the new way of doing things is better and simpler, they will leave the old habits. This is what I see happening after the pandemic,” she explains.

By PD


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Health

Comedian Flaqo opens up on rare condition he has been battling

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Popular Kenyan comedian, Flaqo born Erastus Ayieko Otieno has for the first time spoken about a rare condition that he has been struggling with for some time.

Turns out that despite the funny man the Kenyan audience and beyond has grown to know as Flaqo Raz, he has his fair share of battles behind the cameras.

Flaqo opens up

The Internet sensation shared a photo showing red, itchy welts like a form of skin reaction on certain parts of his body.

Depending on the reactions, the welts appear and fade repeatedly and vary in size.

The YouTuber shared his condition with fans in the hope that maybe one or two can relate to what he has been going through and maybe work out a solution on the same.

“Anyone with this condition, how do you go about it?” he posed.

Comedian Flaqo rare skin condition

“Sometimes I have to postpone my shoots because they are unbearable. Zangu zilipotea for 6 months straight. Now they are back…” he replied to a fan who shared a similar experience.

Funny enough, soon as he had put up the post, he got so much feedback, with so many individuals able to relate to his skin condition, to his amazement.

“So far: try staying in the sun for a bit, bathe with warm water after taking antihistamines. To understand your condition better, make a point of seeing a dermatologist,” Flaqo shared with fans battling a similar condition, after gathering responses from his fan base.

Wrapping up urging fellow victims to take plenty of water, work out more often and avoid proteins since hives get triggered by things like particular foods, medication and stress.

By Ghafla.com


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News

REVEALED: How three teenage sisters were impregnated by a shamba boy – police

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Police in Tana River county in Kenya are looking for a shamba boy  (gardener) who fled after allegedly  impregnating all three of his employer’s underage daughters at around the same period.

The girls said the man would often lure them to their farm where he would sexually defile them. One of the sisters confessed to sneaking into the gardener’s room at night.

“I did not know he was having affair with my sisters as well because we didn’t share that part of our lives with each other, as we didn’t trust each other with secrets,” one of the teenagers told Daily Nation.

The further divulged that the man would entice them with gifts such as money and clothes.

“He used to give me pocket money and would sometimes buy me clothes. He was so nice to me. I did not know he was doing the same to my sisters,” another girl said.

Each of the three sisters gave birth to a set of twins at a Garissa hospital on Saturday through a Cesarean Section.

All the three are Class Eight learners and are expected to sit for their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination in March next year.

On her part, the girls’ mother said she noticed her daughters had new sets of underpants but she did not suspect something was going on between them and the gardener.

“I noticed some funny set of underwear which caught my attention. But my last-born daughter kept saying she had bought them with her pocket money,” the mother explained.

“What I did not understand was why she chose that funny type of underwear,” she said.

She learned of the gardener’s affair with her daughters after she stumbled upon a message on one of the girls’ phone informing the man of the pregnancy.

She then discovered the two were planning to get rid of the pregnancy, prompting her to ambush all her daughters with a pregnancy test the following morning. Two of the girls admitted they were pregnant before the tests.

The shamba boy is said to have fled after learning that the three sisters were all pregnant with his children. Police are still looking for him.

The first-born daughter was expecting triplets but she could only deliver two children safely and without complications.

“They all had slim chances of survival, and that is why we looked for a specialist. But for the girl with the triplets to come out alive, we had to agree with the mother to choose between her daughter and the third infant,” a doctor said.

The three were discharged from the hospital following the operations and are recuperating at home.

 


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Lifestyle

Ciru Muriuki in mourning again, just months after losing her dad

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The loss of a loved one is a feeling one can never put into words. But losing another person so close to your heart, becomes a tall order.

July 2020, BBC journalist, Angela Wanjiru wa Muriuki alias Ciru Muriuki lost her dad to COVID-19. A man she dearly honored, loved and cherished.

A man she still misses more than words can say; a man who would have turned 72 years on October 10, were he still alive.

Pain and agony that she wonders how long it will last.

Amid COVID-19 and strict health measures put in place, her dads send-off left a different mark in her life.

“Heh. Losing a father. Nothing prepares you for the pain. Nothing. I wonder if I’ll feel this agony forever. My father’s funeral was the worst experience of our lives.”

Remember, Ciru also contracted the virus and had to mourn her late dad in almost complete solitude.

I cannot think of anything worse,” she tweeted.

Another loss

It has been barely 4 months that the celebrated media personality was allowed to mourn her loss, and death has stricken once more.

Taking to her Twitter, the broadcast journalist mourned the loss of a beloved mother, a grand mum and an aunt – her fathers sister.

Messages of condolences continue to flow in from fellow personalities, friends and fans as they comfort a dear Ciru, having to bear 2 consecutive losses amid a pandemic.

May their souls rest in eternal peace!

By Ghafla.com


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