KHAYEGA, Kenya, September 21- Fallen local sports journalism luminary, Oscar Pilipili was given a befitting send-off at his Khayega home, Kakamega County in a sombre ceremony punctuated by emotional scenes as a battery of his colleagues gathered to bid farewell.
A horde of sports journalists from various media houses thronged Museno Primary School grounds for the moving funeral service before taking command at the burial site in his home a short distance away as they united to pay final respects to a man who touched them deeply in a way only he could achieve as he was finally laid to rest late Saturday afternoon.
Sports federation officials, officials from Ministry of Education, local leaders and other luminaries joined family, relatives and friends in hailing the fallen scribe who enjoyed a 16-year career as a distinguished reporter with The Standard newspapers.
Pilipili was synonymous with the growth of school games, racket games, crikcket and motorsports among other sports.
The Standard Group sports editor, Omulo Okoth, represented the company, reading a speech on their behalf before hailing Oscar saying, “I have lost a close friend and whenever there was a serious assignment that needed a person of calm, I would send Oscar.”
“If it was not for Oscar, I would not be standing with you today,” Standard Game Yetu Associate Editor, Robin Toskin, added as he shared an anecdote of how he got his break when Pilipili passed on his article to the bosses saved on a diskette.
As the tributes came in from speaker after speaker during the service, his only child, daughter Gloria Khakayi, a Form 3 student at Kerugoya Girls’ best summed it up when she said, “I thank God for all the time I shared with my loving dad,” sentiments shared by those who stood transfixed as she led the most tear-jerking of tributes.
Pilipili started his 43 year journey on earth on April 15, 1969 at Maseno Sub location, Khayega location of present day Kakamega County as the eight born of the Peter Pilipili Mulimbwa and Lucia Lipesa from the Bamakhaya Clan.
He lived a largely healthy life until his final assignment to cover the East African Secondary Sports Association Games in Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania having turned down an opportunity to travel for the World Grand Prix women’s volleyball championships in Mexico to serve his employer with the due diligence that was a hallmark of his trade.
He fell ill while in Dar and received his initial treatment for a combination of malaria and typhoid and returned home to the comfort of his family upon the end of the tournament at the beginning of the month.
But in true Oscar style according to his spouse, he kept his suffering from his family to shield them from worry but after “Ordering our daughter to be taken back to school,” he was eventually taken for a check-up at Nairobi’s Jamaa Hospital on September 5.
“After the doctors looked at him, they decided to admit but he was in stable condition. He was supposed to be taken for an MRI scan that day but he left us,” his widow explained.