The family of Kenyan-born Australian ex-senator Lucy Gichuhi will now bury their daughter in Australia after they failed to raise enough money to bring her body to Kenya.
Peris Wanjiru, 33, died a month ago. A week later, the family opened a GoFundMe page asking well-wishers to help raise Sh3.3 million to bring her remains to Kenya for burial.
“It is the desire of the family to give her a befitting send-off by repatriating the remains to her motherland Kenya,” said the page, now closed.
The family sought to raise about Sh3.3 million ($30,000), but only Sh41,000 ($400) had been collected when the page was closed.
“A little here and there will go a long way in making this possible and lessening the huge financial burden to her family as they come to terms with this devastating loss of their firstborn gone too soon,” the page said, adding that Covid-19 restrictions had resulted in overwhelming costs to the family as it sought to bring her home.
But in an obituary placed in Tuesday’s dailies in Kenya, the family said she will be buried next Monday in Adelaide, Australia.
“On the 27th September 2021 there will be a Church Service at Influencers (Paradise) Church, followed by burial at the Centennial Park Adelaide, South Australia,” the obituary said.
The family did not publicly disclose the cause of her demise. The obituary only said that her death was sudden.
Career in Australia
Ms Gichuhi, who worked as an accountant before joining politics, served as senator for South Australia from 2017 to 2019.
The 56-year-old won the Family First Party seat in the Australian parliament following a special vote recount of the April 2016 election ordered by the High Court, becoming the first African-Australian senator in Australia’s history.
Born in Mathira, Nyeri County, Ms Gichuhi migrated to Australia in 1999 with her husband and their three children and became a naturalised Australian citizen in 2001.
She received her bachelor’s degree in law from the University of South Australia in 2015.
In 2019, Ms Gichuhi opened up about her history of trauma and violence in a new book about her life and political career.
The book, Behind the Smile, details her reaction to infidelity and domestic violence, as well as her journey to Australia’s upper house of parliament.
“I share my journey from where it all began on the slopes of Mount Kenya to university life, falling in love and navigating the challenges of a marriage where infidelity is a challenge,” Ms Gichuhi said at the time.