A Kenyan man from Nyeri, who dug his own grave 38 years ago was laid to rest last week at his home in Karogoto village in Nyeri County.
According to SDE, his family gave him a decent send off and ensured all his wishes were met.
Stanley Muriuki Njuki who was popularly referred to as ‘Mighty Lawyer’ because of his mastery of English, dug his grave in 1979, baffling many.
Speaking to The Nairobian, Njuki’s son, Charles Muriuki, said that his father dug a grave complete with an epitaph and prepared an elaborate plan for his burial.
“As a child, I did not understand why he dug the grave, but as I grew up, I realised that it was important to him and eventually, came to accept the grave as part of our lives,” he noted.
The late Njuki had also built a small makeshift mortuary where he told his relatives he should be laid for a maximum of eight days.
Inside the tiny room, his body was to be placed on slab made of a layer of sawdust and charcoal with traditional herbs hanging in the room.
Every few hours, his children were to pour cold water on the slab to cool his body and slow down the decomposition process.
Njuki’s kids were to ensure that his body was guarded 24 hours a day to so that it is not eaten by rats.
“He said that I should make sure there is someone with his body throughout the day, so that the rats don’t bite his nose or ears while he is dead,” he explained.
The father of nine also demanded that he be buried in a mahogany casket dressed in a woollen suit, items which his family have admitted they could not afford at that time.
“I found out that a mahogany casket costs more than Sh50,000 which is more than I can afford, so I bought an ordinary casket and purchased four pieces of mahogany wood to line the inside of the coffin,” Muriuki revealed.
As for the woollen suit, the family settled for a more affordable suit made of wool blended with other fabrics.
“We had to work around his wishes because we have little choice but cannot afford it all considering the time constraint,” He explained.
Njuki, who was a strict and staunch Catholic man warned his kids against taking him to hospital in case he fell sick.
“My father was clear, that we should never take him to hospital if he fell ill or to allow a medical doctor to examine him,” Muriuki said.
According to neighbours, Njuki was a stubborn man.
“I remember about eight years ago, he was hit by a speeding motorbike and we immediately tried to rush him to hospital but halfway there, he demanded to be taken back to his house, insisting he was fine. We had no choice but to bring him home despite his injuries,” Anastacia Njoki, a neighbour told The Nairobian.
His neighbour and close friend Johnson Thairu explained that his friend was an unusual but jovial man who was stubborn to a fault.
“I once asked him why he decided to prepare his grave and he told me that it was important to ensure his family was not bothered by expenses that come with funerals,” Thairu said.
However, Thairu claimed that Njuki’s wish to be preserved in his customised mortuary was not met.
“The Ministry of Health and the local administration asked the family to either bury the body within three days or transfer his body to a hospital mortuary. The family had no choice but to bury him a day after his death,” he said.
In 2012, Njuki told journalists that he wanted to be buried like a hero and specifically like the pharaohs of Egypt.
On his epitaph which he etched out in Kikuyu is a biblical verse, Psalm 2:3, “The Lord is my shepherd,” and a declaration that, “This is the last resting place of Stanley Muriuki Njuki.”