My son was a thief, Father tells mourners


It is a common tradition in Africa that a deceased is accorded an honourable send-off when he or she passes on. During the burial ceremony, many mourners shower praises on the deceased. It is often said, many mourners, even those who never saw eye-to-eye with the departed, avoid the truth and praise him or her.

But deep inside Kanyamwa village in Rachuonyo Sub-county, Homa Bay county, a 70-year-old man stunned mourners when he broke the tradition and spoke the truth about his fallen son. When Mzee Mathias Ojuok took to the podium to pay tribute to his late 32-year-old son, many mourners sat pensively to listen to him.

But his introductory remarks not only shocked his family and the mourners, but also the clergy. Sinners and liars “First I want to ask the bishop to pray because many people who have spoken before me are sinners and liars. They have spoken lies about my son,” he told the mourners. Many mourners, taken by surprise, turned to each other as the old man continued to spill the beans on his late son.

Mourners who spoke before him had showered lots of praises on the deceased, remarks that angered the old man. “This boy was a very bad boy. In fact, I tried my best to discipline him but he was tough headed,” said the old man, swallowing hard.

He added: “I wonder why people came here to praise a thief. Someone who should have died in jail a long time ago.” Ojuok told the bishop to pray for those who had spoken before him, claiming they were liars and had sinned already.

He then handed over the microphone to the bishop who, instead of talking to the priest, started songs of praise and asked the pall bearers to carry the coffin to its grave. As the burial was underway, many mourners, especially those who spoke before the old man, were seen murmuring in low tones.


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