Family holds pre-wedding, funeral same day

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On a cloudless Saturday morning, two tents stood about 30 metres apart within the same homestead. This is the day when an ignominious occasion which many would later describe as a taboo and unheard of, visited the village.
On June 9 two groups of members of the same family were conducting two different ceremonies: A pre-wedding and a burial.

Carol Syombua, 27, was being buried while her younger sister Deborah Wavinya, 22, was preparing for a wedding.
It was a surreal juxtaposition of joy and sadness, a beginning of family life on one hand and the end of life on the other hand for two women who had grown up together.
The pre-wedding had been planned for a year and guests had been informed, tents and foodstuffs had also been bought. The local chief Justus Mutuku of in Sofia village in Mwala, Machakos County, in Kenya had also been notified of the event.

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Their elder brother, John Mutinda, who has acted as the head of their family since their parents died two years ago, said some family members had agreed to postpone the burial but others refused.
They were determined to have their way and they brought along five police officers to coerce the dissenting members to attend the burial.
“I saw my sister Jackline come with police officers to force me to attend the burial after they refused to listen to our advice. I refused to attend,” said Mr Mutinda.

The police retreated to guard a handful of mourners who had attended the burial as the pre-wedding went on.
Mr Mutinda explained that the pre-wedding had been planned earlier and postponing it could have been a big loss.
“Guests had been informed, tents had been hired and it was agreed we could not postpone the pre-wedding,” he explained.
In the history of the village, nothing of that kind has ever been witnessed, chief Mutuku said.
The incident is now the talk of the village and beyond.

Some elders have suggested a traditional cleansing ceremony to avert a calamity in the family but Church adherents insist nothing could go wrong as they are “covered by the blood of Jesus”.
Source: Daily Nation

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