Bodies of individuals killed by Covid-19 in Western Kenya are being secretly exhumed and accorded Bukusu burial rites.
Under the new Ministry of Health regulations, funerals have changed from a nearly all-day affair to a hurried one-hour service mostly at dawn, supervised by health officials in hazmat suits.
But now, according to reports, Bukusu elders fearing curses have now opted to exhume and supervise the burial of two bodies that were ‘improperly’ buried.
According to Bukusu culture, bodies are to be buried in a resting position.
The head must always face away from the compound and shoes, necktie, shirt and trouser must all be loosened.
If this is not done, it is believed the dead person will constantly harass family members in their dreams, the elders say.
One prominent reburial, which took place this week, involved the family of a politician whose father sits in the Bukusu Council of Elders and brought together all the elders for the exhumation ritual.
Council chairman Patrick Chaka said the community is keen on enforcing traditions.
He said the community has a way of burying their loved ones depending on the cause of death.
A person who commits suicide by either hanging or taking poison is whipped before being buried in the dead of the night.
Those who die from normal illness are interred after a minimum of three days, but not before 3pm for adults.
“We bury them in the night to cast away the evil spirit so they don’t hound the remaining family members,” he said.
“We, however, don’t have a system of burying people who succumb to the Covid-19 disease because when one dies of the virus people are not allowed to go near and the government takes over,” Chaka added.
Source: The Star