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A banner with the portrait of Dr Thomas Nyambane who died of COVID-19 in the US. His family and friends followed burial proceedings via zoom from Kisii, his rural village in Kenya.

Corona Virus

Villagers in Kisii follow kin’s burial in the US via Zoom

KISII, Kenya Jun 13 – A family in Kisii followed burial proceedings online, for their kin who succumbed to COVID-19 in the US.

The family and friends from Bokinami village, Sameta Subcounty, followed the proceedings on a screen, next to a huge banner with the deceased’s photo. White roses were also placed on a small table.

According to the family, Dr. Thomas Nyambane, a Kenyan-American community leader died of Coronavirus three weeks ago but his body could not be transported back home due to travel restrictions around the world. The Kenyan airspace remain closed for passenger flights since March.

“The father of three complained of shortness of breath on April 30 and was hospitalised, but when he was tested, he turned positive for the virus,” said Zephaniah Omanga Nyambane, a brother to the deceased.

Omanga said his brother’s wish over the years was to be buried at his birthplace, in Kisii.

The deceased died aged 69, and was a community leader in Minnesota.

Daniel Monari, a friend of the deceased in Minnesota said he was credited for uniting Kisiis living in the city that was the epicentre of protests last week following the killing of George Floyd, an African-American who stopped breathing when a white police officer pressed his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes as he pleaded, “I can’t breath”. He had been accused of using a fake $20 bill to purchase cigarettes.

Dr. Nyambane, was a college educator who taught at at Hennepin Technical College, according to the family.

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The president of the Minnesota Kenya Association, Geoffrey Gichana, mourned the “loss of a mentor whose wise counsel will be missed by many.”

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