Emotional Farewell In Stockholm For Murdered Juliet Kavinga

juliets pic on top of casket serah and daughter sings for juliet fileing past juliets casket juliet committee member speaks to fidelia staff member getting ready to go
Deep sorrow dominated the mood at the memorial service of the late Juliet Kavinga, a 35 year old Kenyan who was murdered in Sweden by her Swedish boyfriend in May last year. The service was held on Friday September 12 at St Klara church in Stockholm. Juliet’s body was found last month floating on Lake Mälaren in the outskirts of Stockholm.

Over 200 grim faced Kenyans, friends and sympathizers listened attentively as Pastor Beatrice Kamau, Pastor Overa Sjöberg and Pastor Karl Erick Sjöberg led the mourners through the evening’s program.

Anna, a close friend of Juliet who was in contact with her two weeks before she disappeared, moved the mourners as she talked about her knowledge and experiences with Juliet. Anna had just returned from her native country of Liberia where she had gone to meet her biological father for the first time when she met Juliet who had also just come to Sweden.

Being an African, Juliet helped her to understand her African roots while she also helped Juliet understand the new Swedish society she had come into.

“Juliet had the lust to help other people. She took her time before she trusted someone”, she told the mourners.

“I used to refer to Juliet as a chameleon because of her situation which she could not clarify to anybody she met”, she said.

Anna, who looked composed, calm and collected, said that Juliet was cleaver in many ways. “She was good at singing and dancing. She was good at hand crafts and making greeting cards”, she said adding that she could not understand how someone could murder such a kind person.

“Because I have three boys, we talked much about child upbringing. She knew that she would soon be a mother. I never doubted for even a second that she could take good care of my children”, she said.

Anna said that Juliet talked much about her family in Kenya.  “She had a lot of respect for her mother and did everything to try and help her”, she told the mourners. Anna described Juliet as her family member who celebrated Christmas and other holidays with the family. She disclosed that Juliet , who had no residence status in Sweden, lived a very stressful life.

“I hope that Juliet is fine where she is. Juliet, I love you and you will always be in my heart”, she said. She appealed to anybody who has information that could further nail Juliet’s killer to contact police. A 34 year old Swedish national is facing trial for the murder.

The memorial service was organized by the “Juliet Committee in Stockholm”, and was also addressed by Mr. Daniel Mwaura, the Committee’s Chairperson, Mr. George Kinywa, the First secretary at the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm and Mr. Joe Frans an African MP sitting in Swedish Parliament.

Mr. Mwaura said that the Kenyan community was in deep sorrow following the murder of Juliet and hoped that justice would be done to ensure that the culprits were brought to justice. He said that he dreamed of a world where no one was illegal

Mr. Joe Frans said that it was unfortunate that there are people who continued to live as “illegals” in Sweden. The MP concluded his address by reading a poem to the mourners.

The program was packed and included a choir session by Nakupenda choir which was started by Juliet together with Heidi, Winnie and Pastor Antonio Helena. The group could not finish singing their first song because they burst into tears after being overcome by emotion. They were quietly led away from the stage but returned a few minutes later after they recomposed themselves. Members of the Swahili congregation also entertained the mourners who were mainly dressed in black.

Serah Nielsen and her daughter, Monica Masson, sang songs in Kikamba language which was also Juliet’s mother tongue.

As the Program entered its final stages, mourners lined up to walk past Juliet’s casket which was draped in a white cloth. Juliet’s picture stood on top of the casket in a gold coated frame. Mourners took turns to bow briefly before the casket to pay their last respects and to place flowers then walked back to their seats. 

The day’s collection yielded 8.339 kr bringing the total amount of cash so far collected by Kenyans and friends after Juliet’s death to over 45.000 Kr (almost half a million Kenyan shillings)

After the service, Marcus Ericksson and Lars Gåre from Fidelia AB, the company transporting Juliet’s body to Kenya, lifted the light-brown casket meticulously from its silver-coated metallic platform and wheeled it with consummate professionalism along the red-carpeted aisle out of the church. The body was then loaded into a posh black herse which then rolled away slowly out of sight, leaving behind Kenyans and friends exchanging bits of conversations as others dispersed in different directions.

Juliet’s body leaves for Kenya on Tuesday morning and lands in Nairobi on Wednesday evening at 6.15 Kenyan time. Many Kenyans and sympathizers who were interviewed by Kenya Stockholm blog thanked the Juliet Committee for a work well done. The Committee was set up two weeks ago by the Kenya Social Forum in Sweden (Kesofo) and given the mandate to collect enough funds to transport Juliet’s body to Kenya and to organize a Memorial service for her.

Okoth Osewe
makosewe@gmail.com   

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