Sunday, June 16, 2024

Drama at Kenyan Girl’s Funeral in Sweden

photo1-300x300I first met Vinnie Atieno last year in October.

She was an incredibly beautiful girl and I told her so. I met her in a mall with her daughter. We exchanged numbers and become friends. I only went to visit her in her home once but we talked a lot on the phone.

She passed away on 16th of June 2014 at the tender age of 28.

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I attended a meeting that would be the start of a series of meetings that would determine where Vinnie would be laid to rest.

The whole family situation was complicated to say the least.

On one side of the family was her mother in Kisumu and sister in Germany.

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Vinnie had come to Sweden 8 years ago and had 2 children; one, a 7 year old boy who’s father was a Swedish guy called. Vinnie divorced her sons father and met another Swedish guy; the father to her second child (a girl, 10 months old).

At first, I obviously thought that Vinnie would be buried in Kenya but I later found out she would be buried in Sweden so her children would be able to visit her grave one day.

Anyway, the Kenyan community in Malmo rallied together and met on different occasions to discuss the whole matter. A newly formed Kenyan organization (Kenyans United in Sweden – Skane) was responsible for making a lot of the necessary arrangements.

A meeting was held on 28th June at my friends’ house to raise money to assist with the air travel costs to bring a few members of Vinnie’s family from Kenya for the funeral which was to be held on 4th of July.

From the onset, Vinnie’s death has been shrouded in mystery. For starters she died in her home and did not wake up after sleeping. The results of her postmortem were not released. We did not know what killed her.

On 28th June her aunt from Switzerland and sister from Germany were present. A lot of people contributed money to assist the family and the only thing we were told was that we were all welcome for the funeral and there would be a reception after the funeral.

The funeral day.

I had planned to attend the funeral and woke up concerned about what black dress to wear. I was mentally prepared for a sad, nostalgic day.

I went to meet my friend so we could go to the funeral grounds together. She had to step out of the house shortly but she had been hosting Vinnie’s family and Vinnie’s aunt came to the house to change into a black dress. I took a taxi with Vinnie’s aunt and a few other people to the funeral grounds.

That’s when I found out that no one from her family in Kenya had flown in to Sweden and the sister  did not want the funeral to proceed.

We got to the grounds at around 1pm in the afternoon and the drama that ensued was nothing short of being in a really horrible movie.

Vinnie’s sister did not want Vinnie to be buried because she said she suspected Vinnie’s second boyfriend of killing Vinnie. Yes, a murder accusation.

She claimed that he was trying to rush the whole thing so that the truth could not be uncovered. Apparently she had spoken to someone in the Kenyan embassy in Sweden who said that they have to stop the whole thing because foul play was suspected.

First she tried to talk to the funeral director and explained her part of the story. He said that he had no idea Vinnie’s family in Kenya had all these objections and he said he would try to talk to the Swedish family side so that the burial could be halted.

She was being emotional and combative and the funeral director told her if she did not calm down she would be arrested by the police.

I think at some point the police were called because she was causing a scene and had no underwear on. Yes, no underwear on. She flashed her privates to the funeral director once.

I was in a state of shock.

Things got worse when the father of Vinnie’s daughter drove in to the funeral grounds. Vinnie’s sister rushed to him, started to hit him and hurl all kinds of accusations at him.

Shortly, the police arrived. Big and tall Swedish policemen; with guns and all.

They tried to calm her down and had a long conversation with her. They were also in a state of shock. She was telling them, “You Swedish policemen are nothing compared to German police.” That girl was showing no fear.

The funeral director emerged from some meeting to tell her that Vinnie would not be buried on that day, till her mom came from Kenya.

Meanwhile many Kenyans had convened for the burial and had no idea what was happening. There was a service held in the chapel and a whole group was outside the chapel and another group was inside.

According to her sister, the group inside was betraying her.

The service ended Mats left and the police left.

They should have stayed.

Her sister started hurling insults at Vinnie’s son’s father and at Vinnie’s mother in law, accusing them of taking Vinnie’s daughter father side. Then she started screaming and displaying her private parts. Who knew I would ever write this sentence on my blog.

She did that several times.

We turned in shame; we did not know what to do. We did not know how to stop her. A girl tried everything she could in vain.

After that, some people went home, some people went to a reception hosted by Vinnie’s mother in law.

In conclusion:

The day was horribly embarrassing for all involved. Everyone felt that all these grievances should have been aired before a funeral date was picked. The case is complicated but I don’t know how effective stripping naked is to get your point across.

We have no idea what is happening in Kenya, if her mom will travel. I think people contributing money out of their free will should not be taken lightly. A new funeral date has been picked but who knows what will happen in this saga. As my Tanzanian friend said, “Can’t she be left to rest in peace?”

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