Kenyan County Where Coffins Are Not Sold

  • A casket being lowered into the ground
    A casket being lowered into the ground
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  • With death as a right of passage, most would imagine that the sale of coffins would be simultaneous in every county or town. However, this may not be true.

    You would be shocked to learn that there is no single businessperson in West Pokot County, who sells caskets.

    "It is prohibited for anyone to sell caskets in West Pokot county. If residents get hold of you, they report to the authorities," a resident in the area stated.

    Residents pictured canvassing the aftermath of the landslide that hit West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet counties on April 18, 2020.
    Residents pictured canvassing the aftermath of the landslide that hit West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet counties on April 18, 2020.
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    The Director of Communications West Pokot County Joylene Singoei confirmed to Kenyans.co.ke that it was true that not a single resident in the area sold coffins.

    She, however, clarified that the decision had nothing to do with the county government.

    "Around the year 2014, someone tried to put up a business but the residents protested. It has nothing to do with the county, we do not have such a bill that has ever been passed," Singoei stated. 

    In addition, she explained that residents believed the sale of coffins in the county invited the spirit of death.

    "You can do any other business but not that one. When a person dies in West Pokot, we go all the way to Kitale to buy the coffins," she stated.

    According to African traditions, death is a rite of passage to another existence, a transition which does not change or alter the life or temperament of a person but only causes a change in its form.

     Individuals who have died become ancestors and continue to “live” in the community and to commune with their families. 

    In most African communities, if proper burial rights were not performed it was believed that the deceased may become a wandering ghost, unable to exist in a stable manner after their death.

    A coffin
    A coffin
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