When Lang’ata cemetery is mentioned, then what comes to your mind is definitely some sad news because of the number of lifeless people lying down there.
Many residents of Nairobi would wish to take their loved ones to their villages and give them a decent send off but due to some factors beyond their control, a good number have always resorted to the Lang’ata cemetery.
Well, perhaps most of you may not know that the 100 acre Lang’ata cemetery was declared full in 2008 but dead bodies continue to arrive at the place everyday for burial.
It is reported that sometimes it is never possible to bury the loved ones the requisite six feet due to existence of other bodies beneath but families especially the poor ones who cannot pay extra coins to get a “better place” do have limited options.
Lang’ata cemetery is divided into two namely the “permanent section” and the “temporary section,” with burial sites ranging from about Ksh14,700 for a baby to Ksh 30,000 for adults.
Depending on the pocket, some people choose to cement the graves and surround it with beautiful furnishings to protect the graves from robbers whose high appetite for money make them steal the caskets and sell the same at throw away prices.
With regards to costs, these extra modifications meant to protect the loved ones from thieves vary in cost and others may pay upto 70,000 Kenya shillings just to secure the place and make it memorable.
“The concrete slabs go for Sh15,000, while the metal rods cost Sh16,000. Those who want to plaster the entire grave and cover it in concrete slabs or marble pay at least Sh65,000, minus the tombstone. The amount depends on how fancy the client wants the grave to be,“reported one undertaker at the Lang’ata cemetery.
Sonko News has established that robbers visit the Langata cemetery during the day to assess and map out their potential targets. They hide in a nearby thicket only to show up when darkness begins to steal from the dead ones.
One man who spoke to Nation recently confessed that he buried his relative but on coming back, he was shocked to find out that the furnishings had been stolen.
“We erected metal bars around his grave to keep away livestock grazing in the cemetery and burglars, but I was shocked to find them stolen over the weekend when I passed by. I looked around and saw other graves that had been vandalized and felt very sad. People have no respect for the dead, none whatsoever. It’s so sad that those who buried their loved ones here and left will one day get a rude shock,” he said.
They say experience is the best teacher and one lady by the name Stellah shared what she went through when she went to the facility to pay a visit to her late mom. Stellah shared her experience through the “Wanderlust Diaries Ltd” Facebook page and this is what she wrote:
“Today I went to visit my dear mum. She has been resting at Lang’ata cemetery for the last 5 years on the side near the muslim cemetery. It took some time to locate her grave because of the overgrown bushes that cover parts of the cemetery. It was actually scaring given that the area looked deserted moreso being a Sunday afternoon.
I was accompanied by my son. While at the graveside we heard some footsteps approaching us amongst the thickets. I felt my body tense up expecting the worst. A man in a black t-shirt and gumboots appeared. He said hello to us and kept moving closer to us. At that moment I stepped away onto another grave and signalled to my son to stay calm.
The man enquired from us if we wanted help with clearing the thickets around my mum’s grave. I quickly said no and told him that we would be back next week to do some repairs around the grave. I engaged him with some small talk about the management of the cemetery and asked him why it was looking so unkempt.
He advised that there was no money to do landscapping around the graves so him and a few colleagues of his stay around and offer to clear up the bushes whenever families visit. After our small talk, the man walked away peacefully. I bet he went looking for a potential client. We were then left to wind up our visit. We did not feel safe at all and my son urged me to leave.
On our way to where we had parked our car, we were approached by a speeding white Probox with two occupants. They were driving so fast like those miraa vehicles. It seemed like they were running away from someone or something. We managed to quickly get into our car and drive off. It is only when we joined Langata road did we atleast feel safe.
I left wondering whether my dear mum was really resting in peace in that environment. Who is responsible of managing the cemetery? Would it cost so much to maintain the grounds and ensure that the areas around the graves are neat and tidy? What about the security of the place? Are visitors to the cemetery safe?” It read.
However, the comment sections from a number of Kenyans familiar with the graveyard will definitely discourage you from contemplating visiting the place alone. Below are some of the testimonies that various Kenyans gave:
“The place is a no go zone especially when alone,sitaki kukumbuka I took a friend at this place nikapoteza kiatu tukitoroka,next time have like 5 strong men to accompany you.”
“How did u gather courage to go on Sunday heri weekday utapata watu wanazika, hii vitu wazungu hufanya kutembea cemetery naongopa u Shud have had company ya like 2 men if u were to go I always feel scared of Lang’ata cemetery.”
“Who’s in charge of clearing the area because it will soon be a den of thugs ,rapist and or others. This is a place where we put our departed loved ones and it’s ok to visit whenever we can but if you have to hire security to go visit then something is seriously wrong with the management.”
“Well, you really had the courage. Would you have posted prior the visit for advice i would have advised you not to dare as there has been even robberies happening when people are burying their loved ones. Its not a safe place at all but gladly you left safe.”
“That place is full of robbers and rapists. Never visit alone especially if you are a woman.You should be atleast 3 people on the worst. If you have to go alone hire an armed police officer at 2,500 for one hour.”
“How on earth could you go to the place alone on a Sunday that place is dangerous extremely dangerous there are places you can not even reach on your on on weekdays.my dad was buried in 1997 and I have never visited the place alone I was warned by the caretaker of the cemetery…..next time muende mkiwa over 4 people.”
“You should thank God that the grave site is still there and visible, yenye iko huku hulimwa after every few years na kipwigwa harrow ianze kuzikiwa wengine, so hata kama ilikuwa imejengwa inabomolewa ba kusahaulika.”
“A while back there was a conversation on relocation of Langata cemetery,it is full..It has been christened ‘Double decker’ cause so many graves have been recycled..I normally pass in there on my evening walks..”
“Those are the people responsible of stealing flowers and selling them if you pass along langata road at 2pm and see a grave with fresh flowers going to karen or rongai by the time you are passing there at 5 pm going back the graves are empty yaani kuna watu hii dunia hawana huruma.”
“We would love to hear from you Nairobi Metropolitan Services, NMS . Langata cemetery is not as it used to be. It’s home to some unsavoury characters. Also cars are vandalised there which is unbelievable especially because it adds grief to those already mourning. Is it possible for you to deploy Kanju security there? There’s really no need to have them man traffic in town as there are traffic lights. Please restore the security there so that people can visit the Lang’ata cemetery whenever they want.”
“I was accosted by a man with a knife one time when I went to visit my daughter’s grave on a Sunday afternoon. He took all my visible money and thankfully went away with that. I pleaded with him to atleast leave me with some fare and he threw me some 50 and disappeared. I ran all the way to the stage and took a matatu home. I don’t think it’s advisable to visit on a Sunday since the place is usually deserted.”
“You’re so brave,I can’t go there alone. That place has been lsted in the 1000 ways to die. I thank God youre safe. And a POLITE question, are all those buried there landless? May mama continue resting in peace.”
“At least you still have the fence and gate around your mom’s grave! My dad’s was stolen ?”
“Always be accompanied wherever you’re visiting that cemetery. There are so many robbers that stay there. It’s not safe for a woman.”
“You own that grave 15yrs if you paid 20k one . After that they will flatten the place out for new occupancy”
“You would be surprised that there are fund allocation for keeping the cemetery presentab but being the Kenyans that we are, your guess is as good as mine.??May your mum’s soul rest in eternal peace.”
“You’re Lucky you still found your mum’s grave intact..we visited my cousin’s grave and found the fence had been stolen ?kutokea hivi we were robbed our phones by some tuboys ?..I swore never to go back there again..that place isn’t safe even for men let alone women and kids..kwanza sai bushes zimemea ?munaibiwa mchana.”
“You’re lucky you escaped never visit Lang’ata Cementry especially into lonely and bushy thickets alone without company of a security personel.I bet you weren’t aware but uliponyoka kutoka tundu la sindano.”
“Jace Mueni Lang’ata Cemetery is dividend into two sections.There’s the area for permanent graves and for temporary graves.For permanent graves, you pay some amount around 30k or more and for temporary about 7k or less.On the temporary side, graves are recycled(sold).You bury your loved one and after weeks or months,the grave is sold and occupied by someone else.”
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