Bob Collymore was not ostentatious unlike members of elite clubs in which he could easily fit.
In his death, he chose a modest send-off.
In a materialist society like Kenya where wealth, grand opulence, and power gain massive traction, it was the expectation of many that Collymore would be interred in a big ceremony beamed live on national television channels.
However, the former Safaricom Chief Executive is said to have rejected grandiosity, opting for a modest send-off and cremation at Kariokor Crematorium.
The total cost of handling his body was so modest that it is doubtful an ordinary Kenyan would settle for it. His funeral expenses up to cremation were Sh63,000 or thereabout, according to the sources in the planning team.
The crematorium charged Sh5,000.
Further, the hearse that carried his body from his home to Lee Funeral Home charged Sh10,000 and so is the Jaguar that ferried the body to the cremation centre on Tuesday.
The funeral home charged Sh18,000 for the body’s overnight stay while the casket cost Sh20,000.
Given that Collymore earned a monthly salary of Sh10 million coupled with the fact that his close friends were people of means willing to foot any bill, this is a surprising revelation.
But one of his friends, who was among those who visited him at his Kitisuru home on July 29, disclosed to the Star that the father of four wanted to be handled modestly, even turning down the offer by close friends to celebrate him in a big way.
“Bob always lived modestly. After telling us that his doctor had told him he would hardly go past three days, our minds kicked into planning. He was specific on what he wanted to be done,” the source who declined to be named said.
“He specified that he wanted his body cremated within 24 hours and at Kariokor centre and sternly rejected any plan for a grand ceremony for his burial.”
Further, the clean-shaven tall corporate strategist specified to his friends that he would not wish to have politicians at his burial, wanting only his family and close friends to be in attendance, the source said.
Collymore succumbed to cancer of blood at 2:30 am on Monday.
At the crematorium, the former chief executive’s body was moved to a room where only his mother, wife Kabiru Wambui, children and sister were allowed.
They later joined the rest of the friends in the open space for the final rites.
This contrasts greatly to what ordinary Kenyans do when their loved ones die, being accorded magnificent burials. Their loved ones then get to mobilise resources through fundraisers to foot the bill.
The family and friends of Collymore will gather on Thursday from 11.30am at All Saints Cathedral for a memorial service
– The Star