Family and friends bid Matiba goodbye on rainy, gloomy day
8 months ago, 26 Apr 00:06
As the dull and gloomy Wednesday morning dawned under the dreary Nairobi sky, it appeared, by some strange coincidence, that the universe was also mourning the demise of Kenneth Stanley Njindo Matiba, a hero whose courage and sacrifice knew no bounds.
But even as most of Nairobi beat the cold weather and sluggish traffic to go about their business, at the Lee Funeral Home, a small and intimate crowd had gathered in a tent.
Even though many remember the late Matiba as a brave and unbowed hero who sacrificed a lot for his country, to the crowd at the Lee Funeral Home, Matiba was much more.
From a husband to a father, grandfather and close confidante, this group knew Matiba in ways the rest of the world never did.
While most of the men opted for black or dark grey suits, many of the female mourners chose elegant dark dresses or skirt suits, some accessorised with dark stockings.
At the brief, quiet and intimate service at Lee, members of Matiba’s family and his close friends sang slow, sad tunes, occasionally commiserating with each other in hushed tones. From afar, it was close to see that in the wake of his death, Matiba had left a strong, tight-knit family.
At 10.30am, Matiba’s funeral procession began to make its way from the funeral home in a style befitting the heroic status Kenyans accorded him.
Matiba’s body was enclosed in an expensive, black hardwood casket, which the pallbearers put on top of a lavish golden-brown dais, inside a sleek Jaguar hearse.
On one side of the hearse, an emblem with the words “MATIBA” boldly and distinctively stood out in white.
The funeral procession was led by a police car and two police motorcycles. It was an ironic turn for nearly three decades earlier, the State had hauled Matiba into detention.
Aside from the Jaguar hearse, the procession also comprised of more than five glossy Mercedes cars and several private vehicles, all carrying the family members and close friends.
As the procession slowly coursed through Argwings Kodhek Road onto Ralph Bunche Road, into Upperhill and then Processional Way and Kenyatta Avenue, police officers stopped traffic to make way for the late Matiba’s motorcade.
All along the route, the procession continued to attract attention, as people in vehicles and on the road stared to catch a glimpse of the motorcade. The largest crowd stood along the edge of Uhuru Park, keenly watching as the remains of the man they greatly admired were driven to All Saints Cathedral, located at the intersection of Kenyatta Avenue and Cathedral Road.
From Processional Way to the cathedral, police officers and National Youth Service officers draped in long, dark-green raincoats granted security to the funeral-goers.
While the rest of the family appeared to have come to terms with Matiba’s death, his wife, Edith Matiba, was evidently grief-stricken. Matiba’s death had evidently taken a toll on her. The two met in 1951 while studying at Alliance Boys and Girls respectively, both joined Makerere University ...
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