“ The death industry” ; Death, a common fate to all living things is a sensitive subject which many are shy to discuss. Despite its devastating results, some people have turned it into a money minting industry. Thanks to religion, hospitals and other financial opportunities it presents.
The agīkūyū culture had no place for the fear of pain and death. Circumcision prepared them for this. Even though they respected their dead( Ngomi), they feared anything to do with dead bodies and disposed them immediately and unceremoniaslly at dawn (Rīrīa maara ateire nyina). Those who performed this task were later shaved and cleansed by a Mūndū mūgo.
Things have changed now. Is it really for good or worse? Somebody help me here. The tragic comedy starts with corrupt doctors who will connect an almost dead body to a machine for days, weeks and months with the full knowledge that the person would never recover yet the bill is in millions. Woe to you if your relative is in that situation and the doctors decide to be more dramatic by referring your patient to India. Harambees will be your only hope.

The second phase involve coffin sellers, flower vendors, program printers, hearse, radio and tv announcements, cameramen and video takers, tents and chairs, sound system, cars for msafara, black clothes and white ribbons for family members, red ribbons for cars, proffesiomal mourners and grave diggers. Not to forget the church involvement in all this and the politicians too.
This tragic drama may take days depriving the believed family of any meaningful activity. Sadly they would be left more poorer than they were. Then the funeral day when all economical activities goes to a stand still. Everybody will attend in the name of paying their last respect. Now tell me good people, what respect can one give to a rotten stinking copse that had been kept in a badly equipped morgue for months? Does it mean our people were stupid to respect the spirits of their departed ones rather than their dead bodies? Please help.

By Ngecha Art Centre GIKUYU MUSEUM

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