Dowry paid, rituals performed for Kakamega corpse that ‘refused to be buried’

By , K24 Digital
On Sat, 21 Dec, 2019 11:45 | 2 mins read

By Carolyn Necheza

Traditional rituals had to be performed on Friday to “appease” a dead Kakamega woman, 34, who “refused to be buried”.

K24 Digital was told that Night Makunda, who hailed from Shamberere Village in Malava, clenched her fists and slightly raised her hands in the coffin to communicate her “disapproval of being buried without her grievances addressed”.

Her family members said Makunda’s dowry hadn’t been settled by her husband, hence her “frustration”.

“According to the Luhya culture, when a corpse clenches its fists, you cannot bury it because it is communicating its frustrations. The corpse, therefore, has to be appeased before it accepts to be interred,” a Luhya elder told K24 Digital.

On Friday, when it was time to lower Makunda’s coffin into the grave at around 1pm, it reportedly firmly clutched its fists.

It was then that Makunda’s family ordered her widower to settle her dowry before Makunda accepts to be buried.

On Monday, when Makunda’s body was taken home from the Kakamega County Referral Hospital morgue, the two families -- from the Maragoli and Abashuu sub-tribes -- differed sharply over where Makunda’s head will face in her grave. So vicious were the exchanges that a physical fight erupted, leaving several injured.

And on Friday after “declining” to be buried, attempts to “speak to Makunda to reveal her frustrations” bore no fruit as she “failed to give clear communication”.

It was then that Makunda’s family remembered that her widower hadn’t settled her dowry despite living with her for several years as his wife.

Makunda’s widower obliged and paid the dowry later Friday and, surprisingly, the corpse unclutched its fists. Traditional rituals were, thereafter, performed by elders before Makunda’s body was eventually lowered into her grave.  

Makunda, who died after a short illness last month, is survived by her husband and four children.

K24 Digital has reached area chief for comment.