Man who hated coffins haunts family, they rebury him

His son nearly escaped death when a wall collapsed, neighbours complains of nightmares.

In Summary

• He said he didn't want to be buried in a coffin; he was buried instead on timber with rafters above and pieces of the coffin in the grave. He hated that. 

• Distant relatives, neighbours complained he appeared in their dreams, a four-year-old granddaughter said she heared him calling her and wanted to hang herself. 

Ganze Family members and neighbours rebury Kenga Kalama's without a coffin to fulfill his wishes; reburial on February 23.
NO COFFIN FOR ME: Ganze Family members and neighbours rebury Kenga Kalama's without a coffin to fulfill his wishes; reburial on February 23.

A family in Ganze who buried a relative with pieces of a broken-up coffin — against his wishes — said he has been haunting them, cursing them and threatening them in nightmares.

Kenga Kalama, 63, appeared to warn of dire consequences and said someone would follow him in death if his wishes were not followed. 

A four-year-old granddaughter said he appeared to her. She said he felt sick and wanted to commit suicide by hanging.

Kalama's son Kenas Kenga, a mason like his father, barely escaped death last month when the wall of a building he was working on collapsed. He saw the writing on the wall. 

The frightened family gave in. They exhumed and reburied Kalama on February 23 in the soil only. They burned his coffin, as he had requested — previously they had only smashed it and placed it in the grave with him, along with a timber and rafters. But Kalama said the wood was hurting him.

Even distant relatives and neighbours said he had appeared in his dreams.

Before he died, Kalama insisted he must not be buried in a coffin. After all, his parents and grandparents were not buried in coffins, he said.

On December 2 last year, Kenga breathed his last. Lenox Kalama, his remaining brother, said Kenga collapsed and died four hours after complaining of a headache that was not very severe.

“We buried him on December 7 but since then we have known no peace. He was categorical that we should not bury him in a coffin, that his body should be removed from the coffin and the coffin burned."

On the day of the burial, family members broke up the coffin but did not burn it and instead placed the pieces inside the grave. 

“We buried him in the traditional way but before his body was put in the grave, we placed a timber where the body would lie. We then placed rafters above after placing the body and a traditional mat to make sure sand does not reach the body. This was the beginning of our troubles,” he said.

Kalama's sister Eunice Taabu said for the last two months the family has witnessed "unusual things" that prompted them to exhume and rebury him in accordance with his wishes.

“He came to me in a dream," she said. 

"Many people have come to us to report that Kenga is disturbing them, making demands that can be lethal to the family if his wishes will not be respected. Every time he appeared in my dreams he was complaining that the timber we placed in the grave was hurting him and that he wants to move for some errands but is unable to," she said. 

"He warned that if we will not remove them, someone should join him and share the pain," his sister said."

He also requested to be buried with a packet of Sportsman cigarettes, a metal staff that he used and his favourite tropical sweets that heate after smoking.


He warned that if we will not remove them, someone should join him and share the pain.
Eunice Taabu, sister 

Kalama said they were perplexed when a four-year-old granddaughter claimed that she heard her grandfather call her "but when she looked around, she could not see him". 

“We have had three cases from different grandchildren who are very young. After that they normally become sick. She started claiming she feels like committing suicide by hanging herself. This is a child who does not know anything and we wondered why she would say such words,” Kalama said. 

His mason son Kenga said, I was constructing a wall in a pool. When I was on the twelfth course my colleague told me the wall had disintegrated at the second course. I had to jump and knock down my colleague but none of us was trapped by the rubble. When I reported the matter at home, they told me what was going on and I decided to come home and make sure we fulfil my father's wishes that we had ignored,” Kenas said. 

The family performed traditional rituals before exhuming the body and before reburying the eldest son in the family, held his ear and asked for forgiveness. 

“My brother, we know we went against your wishes but we have now learnt our lesson. We ask you to watch over us and pray for us so that we can leave in peace. We have done all that you wanted and we hope you will rest in peace,” Taabu told the corpse.

Edited by R.Wamochie 

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