NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – The Late Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai will be cremated on Saturday in a ceremony that will be largely private.
According to Karanja Njoroge who is among those organising the final rites for Maathai, no, journalists, dignitaries or members of the public will be allowed at the Kariokor crematorium where the late Maathai will be cremated.
There will also be no viewing of the body.
“Please let’s respect Professor Wangari Maathai’s wishes,” Njoroge pleaded.
“The press will be allowed up to the entrance of the crematorium – off Kinyajui road – but after, that only family member will be allowed in,” he stated.
Her ashes will then be taken to the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies at the University of Nairobi’s Lower Kabete campus at a later date.
Members of the public have been encouraged to attend a ceremony at Freedom Corner where interfaith prayers would be held beginning 9am.
“The family will plant one Olea Africana tree, one of the highly regarded indigenous trees. It is a very versatile tree, able to tolerate a wide variety of environments and this will be planted by her three children,” Karanja said.
Thereafter, the State will pay its last respects in accordance with government protocol.
The cortege will then proceed to Uhuru Highway, Haile Selassie Avenue, onto Landhies road, Kamukunji roundabout, to Kariokor before ending up at the crematorium.
Njoroge said that Maathai’s coffin had been made using water hyacinth and papyrus reeds with a bamboo frame.
“Incidentally, the bamboo that will be used is one she had planted in her Lavington home,” he said.
It was made by three artisans from Kisumu who are part of the Kisumu Innovation Centre Kenya.
A public memorial service in honour of Professor Maathai will be held on Friday October 14 at the Holy Family Minor Basilica simultaneously with another at the homestead of her mother in Ihithe village, Nyeri County.
On Saturday October 15, the Green Belt Movement together with the Kenya Forestry Service will hold a tree planting activity at Karura forest. This will be open to the public and 5,000 tree seedlings are expected to be planted on an area covering five hectares.
The 2004 Nobel laureate succumbed to ovarian cancer two weeks ago.