Prominent Kenyans who have opted to get cremated

July was one of the worst months that Kenya has ever experienced. And that is looking at the leaders that we lost to the dreaded disease cancer.

Some of those leaders are the late Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore, the late Kibra MP Ken Okoth and the late Bomet governor Joyce Laboso.

Joyce Laboso in a file photo
Joyce Laboso in a file photo

One of the interesting things that has transpired from this episode, however, is how some of the leaders wanted their bodies to be dealt with. Instead of the tradition of being buried, we are hearing that the late Ken Okoth had requested to be cremated.

What is cremation? It is the disposal of a dead person’s body by burning it to ashes, typically after a funeral ceremony. This is the path that some prominent Kenyan personalities chose as their final wish.

Ken Okoth
Ken Okoth

Despite the fact that it has been around for a while, cremation has mostly gained popularity among the elite in Kenya. Today, we highlight some high-profile Kenyan personalities who were cremated in compliance with their wishes. They are and from the most recent;

Bob Collymore

The former Safaricom CEO died on July 1st last month. What was shocking was that he was cremated the next day at Kariokor crematorium in a private function restricted only to Safaricom’s top officials, family members, and a few state officers.

Bob-Collymore
Bob-Collymore

Binyavanga Wainaina

The renowned poet and gay activist was cremated in Nairobi following his death which occurred after suffering a stroke. Binyavanga’s body was incinerated at Kariakor Crematorium in a low-key event attended by close family members and friends.

Binyavanga Wanaina
The controversial artiste

Kenneth Matiba

The former presidential candidate and business magnate suffered cardiac arrest and died at the Karen Hospital ICU in Nairobi in April last year.

Kenneth-Matiba
Kenneth-Matiba

He was cremated at the Lang’ata Crematorium.

John Macharia

The son of Royal Media Services chairman SK Macharia, was cremated at Lang’ata after he died following an accident on the Southern by-pass.

John-Macharia
John-Macharia

Jeremiah Kiereini 

The former Head of Civil Service Jeremiah Kiereini was cremated in March 2019 at a private family function. The family said it was the late billionaire’s desire to be cremated.

Jeremiah Kiereini
Jeremiah Kiereini

Wangari Maathai

The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner was cremated in 2011 at a private ceremony at the Kariokor crematorium.

Wangari-Maathai
Wangari-Maathai

The family of the environmentalist and the government agreed to cremate the body according to her wishes with the ashes being interred at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies.

Read here for more 

Go in peace! Images from Binyavanga Wainaina’s memorial service

Binyavanga Wainaina, the legendary author, and activist who died on May 22 at the age of 48 was remembered today at a memorial service held at the National Museum.

The great author of such works like ‘Discovering Home’ and ‘How to Write About Africa’ was remembered by a collection of friends and family.

He will be remembered as the founding editor of Kwani?, the first literary magazine in East Africa since Transition Magazine.

Binyavanga Wanaina
The controversial artiste

He established it in 2003 and it has since become an important source of new writing from Africa, with several writers for the magazine have been nominated for the Caine Prize and have subsequently won it.

In 2003, he was given an award by the Kenya Publisher’s Association, in recognition of his services to Kenyan literature. Among the prestigious publications he wrote for was; National Geographic, The Sunday Times (South Africa), Granta, The New York Times, and The Guardian.

Binyavanga Wanaina
The controversial artiste

Wainaina was a critical thinker and showed off this trait in his satirical essay “How to Write About Africa”, published in Granta magazine in 2006, which attracted wide attention.

Binyavanga was a homos3xual and publicly came out in 2014. The prolific writer was cremated yesterday at Kariokaor.

Check out the some of the pictures below taken by Enos Teche;

Binyavanga Wainaina's brother at the memorial service
Binyavanga Wainaina's brother at the memorial service

 

Binyavanga Wainaina's brother at the memorial service
Binyavanga Wainaina’s brother at the memorial service

Read here for more

Binyavanga Wainaina dead. A short profile of the great author

Binyavanga Wainaina, the legendary author, and activist died at the age of 48, the family has confirmed. He was 48. Below is a quick history of one of Kenya’s most famous exports.

Schooling

Binyavanga Wainaina was born in Nakuru and attended Moi Primary School in Nakuru, Mangu High School in Thika, and Lenana School in Nairobi.

He later studied commerce at the University of Transkei in South Africa, where he went to live in 1991.  He also completed an MPhil in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in 2010.

Career and legacy

In July 2002 he won the Caine Prize for his short story “Discovering Home” He is the founding editor of Kwani?, the first literary magazine in East Africa since Transition Magazine.

He established it in 2003 and it has since become an important source of new writing from Africa; several writers for the magazine have been nominated for the Caine Prize and have subsequently won it.

Binyavanga Wanaina
The controversial artiste

In 2003, he was given an award by the Kenya Publisher’s Association, in recognition of his services to Kenyan literature. Among the prestigious publications he wrote for was; National Geographic, The Sunday Times (South Africa), Granta, The New York Times, and The Guardian

Wainaina was a critical thinker and showed off this trait in his satirical essay “How to Write About Africa”, published in Granta magazine in 2006, which attracted wide attention.

Binyavanga Wanaina
The controversial artiste

In 2007, Wainaina was a writer-in-residence at Union College in Schenectady, NY (USA). In the fall of 2008, he was in residence at Williams College, where he was teaching, lecturing and working on a novel. He was also a Bard Fellow and once the director of the Chinua Achebe Center for African Literature and Languages at Bard College

His debut book, a memoir entitled One Day I Will Write About This Place, was published in 2011.

Personal life 

Binyavanga was a homos3xual and publicly came out in 2014. He did so by first writing a short story that he described as a “lost chapter” of his 2011 memoir entitled “I am a Homos3xual, Mum”, and then tweeting: “I am, for anybody confused or in doubt, a homos3xual. Gay, and quite happy.

Binyavanga Wanaina
The controversial artiste

On 1 December 2016, World Aids Day, Wainaina announced on his Twitter profile that he was HIV positive.

May he rest in peace.

Read here for more

Kenyan Author Binyavanga Wainaina Suffers Stroke

Controversial Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina suffered a stroke at his home and was admitted in Intensive Care Unit at the Karen Hospital on October 31st. His speech was affected, and doctors recommended medicinal treatment and specialized speech therapy.

He developed some physical difficulties after being discharged from the hospital and now literary network Kwani Trust are raising funds to help Binyanga travel to India for specialised treatment.

According to Kwani, doctors advised that he has a chronic condition that affects the blood vessels to the brain making him susceptible to blockages and strokes. They also stated that an immediate intervention is required before extensive therapy beyond first-stage treatment.

So far Sh1.4 million has been raised and Kwani aims to raise Sh5 million which will cater for costs of travel (for him, an accompanying family member, doctor and nurse with their equipment), tests, medication, basic care, speech therapy and a period of recuperation.

Here’s how one can donate towards Binyavanga’s medical bills (Donate now)