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Jalang'o: I never said a proper goodbye to Papa Shirandula

 A collage of Jalang'o and the late Papa Shirandula.

Three years since his demise, Charles Bukeko aka Papa Shirandula is still remembered by many as a talented actor who was kind to all his colleagues regardless of their background.

Lang’ata MP Jalango, who worked with Papa on numerous occasions, narrated how he learnt of his death and how everything happened fast.

At the time, the country was grappling with Covid-19 and the government had ordered cessation of movement in various parts.

Jalas said he got a call from Robert Burale who asked him if he had talked to Papa and instructed him to call him.

“I received a call from @burale1 asking me if I had talked to Papa, I told him it’s been a minute then he tells me to try and call him and he hangs up before I ask why.

“Quickly I grab my phone called Papa’s number…Mama picked and told me she knows why I am calling confirming that Papa had passed on,” wrote Jalas.

Shocked by the news, Jalas quickly rushed to Karen Hospital where Papa’s body was and asked whether he could view the body.

 Friends and family chart the way forward following the death of Papa Shirandula in 2020. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Jacky Vike told him they could not do so as Shirandula was suspected to have died of Covid-19.

Persistent, he asked those at the hospital if he could at least catch a glimpse of the body to confirm that his friend was no more and they obliged, but not before issuing strict instructions.

“After pleading with the officials for hours they told me they will only open the doors of the room where body was for a quick glance without having to go in!

“He opened the door and papa was all covered and the only thing that convinced me that it was him was the fact that Paps was big and you couldn't miss knowing him,” he wrote.

The thespians present at the hospital then met to start burial plans and departed knowing they would accord him a befitting send-off.

At 2pm they were informed that Papa’s body had been transferred to a nearby funeral home and they all began working on they would get Covid passes.

 Papa's body is transferred to a funeral home. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

At the height of the pandemic, most people were locked indoors and the then Health CS Mutahi Kagwe had discouraged in-person gatherings for fear of escalating a situation that was still novel to the republic.

Social distancing was a must and those burying their loved ones had to adhere to a set of guidelines.

At midnight, Jalas and Co were told that the body was being transported to Busia and early the next day he took a flight to Kisumu then proceeded to Busia by road.

As per the government regulations at the time, the funeral was conducted hastily and within no time it was over.

Papa had been buried and by the time Jalas got to the graveside, it had already been cemented.

“The health officials gave us 30mins to stand by the grave and leave Busia county! We asked why? Watu wa Nairobi wako na Corona! Nobody in the village wants even to come closer!” he recalled.

Jalas thanked the late Papa Shirandula for opening doors for most of them but regretted not getting a chance to say a proper goodbye.

Actor Kennedy Gichoya alias Njoro also remembered Papa saying he is still in pain, three years later.

“Three years a day like today, we buried Papa Shirandula. I am still crying, my big brother. Continue resting in peace,” he wrote.

 Njoro and the late Papa Shirandula.

Mama Nyaguthii, who was also Papa’s castmate, remembered him for his kindness and wrote: "This man who contributed positively to our lives. This man who loved us as his children. This man who was the gateway to opportunities in our lives.”

Jacky Vike also mourned Papa describing him as a great mentor. “He discovered so many of us, iam grateful!Keep Resting Papsy, Paps, Mzae your legacy lives on!”

 Jacky Vike and the late Papa Shirandula. [Facebook]

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