Comedian Othuol Othuol Sh 1 million burial elicits mixed reactions
Plans to busy Churchill Show comedian Othuol Othuol at a cost of Sh1 million has raised varied reactions, especially since he struggled to access treatment in his final days due to financial constraints.
Othuol, real name Ben Maurice Onyango, died on Sunday after a long battle with Tuberculosis and brain tumour that saw him many times in and out of hospital.
“Plans are underway to inter his body at his ancestral home in Ndere, Alego, Siaya County scheduled for 25th October 2020, and we are looking at Othuol funeral budget ranging at Sh700,000 to Sh1 million,” read a statement by Comedians in Kenya Society Chairman Ken Waudo.
As soon as the news of just how much his burial would cost, Kenyans poured onto social media with varied reactions, many expressing shock at this development.
One person who came out strongly to pain the irony of this development is actor, emcee and presenter Martin Githinji alias Daddie Marto.
In a Thread on Twitter, Marto highlighted the plight of the late Othuol in his final months and days and how ironic it was to raise huge cash for him after death.
“Othuol lived on donations and goodwill in his last days. We visited him with some colleagues, the state of his home. I almost shed a tear. On the wall facing the door was a huge poster with an image of him, announcing that he would be performing at so-and-so location, come all,” he tweeted.
Adding, “The poster was probably a reminder of the great days past or a goal to live on towards. He was mostly cooped indoors, as going downstairs from what was I believe a 6 storied building in Kitengela was a struggle. He was on the top floor if I recall clearly if not the 5th.”
The actor painted a clear picture of the house Othuol lived in in solitude:
“In the house, old torn broken seats, a tattered mattress by the corner with worn out sheets. It was hard to believe that this was what he lived under. Othuol Othuol the great. Had I not seen it, I would never have believed it. This was in June, COVID-19 had hit hard and fast.”
According to Daddy Marto, being an entertainer in Kenya is both a blessing and a curse because entertainers have the power to affect emotions but end up empty, tired and depleted.
“I kept on wondering, as an artist, is this my fate too? Especially because for one, Kenyans don’t miss a beat to remind you that they owe you nothing! You entertained, you were paid, go plan yourself with that, as little or as much as it could be, you chose the career, not us!” he wrote.
“I am not here to reignite that debate. We are burdened with a blessing and a curse as artists, we have the power to affect emotions, that’s the blessing. We give out a lot more than we receive, that’s the curse. We end up empty, tired, depleted. And still, no one owes us nothing,” he went on.
On the Sh1 million meant for a befitting sendoff for the fallen comedian, Marto thought it was wise to give the money to the family that has lost a breadwinner.
“It is too late to say that the million could have been used in other ways to aide in his survival. But it is early enough to say that the million could go to his family as they, not recently but a while back, lost a bread winner. That’s who our hearts and moneys could go to.” Daddie Marto said as he ended his thread.
I am conflicted. See Headline, "Othuol Othuol’s funeral to cost Sh1 million" I am conflicted. It is not popular opinion, but indulge my thought process for a few.
— Martin Githinji (@DaddieMarto) October 13, 2020