Intriguing piece here from the Standard, ‘Kenya’s Bold Newspaper’ satirising modern funeral fads in a countrywhere oneupmanship is, according to the author, so rampant and absurd that ‘Even someone who dies in a Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru hospital or at a witchdoctor’s dungeon, is reported to have died in London, Germany or the US.’ and ‘if the departed is a man, his closest male cousins and friends silently eye his widow, wondering at what point they will exploit her loneliness and lecherously crawl into her bed.’
Allow for a little hyperbole.
Kenyans go crazy for the wrong reasons when someone dies. It is like the spirit of the dead conjures up madness and makes normal people lose their heads.
Funerals are these days an occasion to show off one’s wealth, clothes and might, a time for manicure and pedicure, stylish hair cuts, three-piece black suits and bow ties, gigantic black goggles, bottles of mineral water, alcohol and a motor show for who drives the best car. And since the dead cannot see, this great show is for the living.
It is at funerals that eulogies about schools people never went to are created, companies people never worked for and ‘fake relatives’, who are naturally doctors, engineers, teachers and other PhD holders in fields like aeronautical engineering, authentic methodology, and non-existent flights to countries the deceased never stepped in are conjured.
Recently, a hair stylist in Nairobi’s Central Business District died, only for the family and other mourners to get embarrassed at the burial in western Kenya.
The family had indicated in the eulogy that their daughter owned a ‘big’ salon in Nairobi and employed over 50 beauticians. But by a strange twist of fate, a well-fed bleached woman arrived in the homestead wailing and eulogising Tabitha, her ‘employee’.
“Uuwi,” she wailed.
“What killed Taby, my best worker! She was excellent at braiding weaves. She was so talented in putting chemical in people’s hair. Where will I get customers? Uwiii!” Tabitha’s boss wailed as she dramatically ran around the homestead.
The master of ceremony was so impressed by her antics that even though the speeches were over, he allowed her to address mourners. That was when she spilled the beans that Tabitha was one of her staff.
To save an embarrassing situation, the pastor quickly shouted, “Let us pray,” as the bemused crowd murmured in protest wanting to hear more about Tabitha’s ‘company’.
Whole article here.