Bantu Mwaura funeral today

Human rights activist, poet and writer Bantu Mwaura is to be laid to rest in Nairobi today, just a short distance from where his body was found last weekend.

Bantu Mwaura: 1969 - 2009. Picture by the University of KwaZulu Natal

Bantu Mwaura: 1969 - 2009. Picture by the University of KwaZulu Natal

Bantu will be buried at 2pm, at Nairobi’s Langata cemetery. His body was discovered in a residential area within the Langata area.

The circumstances leading to his death remain murky. According to an article in Property Kenya, an autopsy certified the cause of death as ‘chemical poisoning’. Media reports had indicated that a bottle of poison was found next to Bantu’s body. Investigations continue into how the poison was administered – and by whom.

In the week since his death, tributes have poured from across the world from people who admired his personality and his work.

A student whom Bantu taught at the University of Nairobi described him as a leading light in Kenya’s theatre, a top script writer and theatre director of great repute. “Bantu’s death is a great loss to Kenya’s entertainment industry and his contribution to theatre will be greatly missed,” wrote Temesi Mukani in the Haiya website.

Shailja Patel, writing in Property Kenya, recalls her first meeting with Bantu.

The first time I met Bantu Mwaura, a few years ago, he showed me, unprompted, his cellphone display: A photo of his wife, Susan, and two children. When he told me his daughters’ names: Makeba (after Miriam Makeba) and Me Katilili (Kenyan woman who led her Giriama people in armed struggle against the British), I teased him: ‘No pressure there, huh? No burdens of history on two gorgeous children?” He laughed, his face alight with love and pride in his family.

Mbugua wa Mungai, another colleague of Bantu, recalls their student days in the Kenya Stockholm website.

I recall vividly our first week as freshers at KU when there was a minor march to the administration block over some minor grievance (attested to by the fact that the university was not closed).

Bantu was one of the first students to be made a non-resident; the irony is that even if he was not on campus at the material time of these events, the administration kicked him out of the university halls of residence anyway, just to make an example out of the man. Of course it was easy to victimise him because with his dreadlocks; he stood out. Later if we, his colleagues in literature classes, probed him about this matter, he would simply retort that “it just shows the irrationality of the system…judging people simply by their looks.” He ignored but never forgot this particular matter …

You can read some of the articles written in remembrance of Bantu Mwaura.

Bantu Mwaura Murdered

The Man With the Mau Mau Spirit

Mbugua wa Mungai’s memories.

Brave struggle that gave way to bleak end

The Tragedy of Bantu Mwaura

One Response

  1. RIP comrade… be assured, aluta continua…

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