NAIROBI. — A funeral can be a time for sombre reflection for family and friends but in this era of social media, when the deceased may have shared intimate details about their life to a large following, fans who feel they somehow know them may have different ideas.

In Kenya, a normal burial for a 23-year old orphaned man would probably be attended by those who had been close to him.

But this was not the case for TikToker Brian Chira who died two weeks ago in a road accident, near the capital, Nairobi.

He had amassed a following of more than 400,000 in little over a year. His candid, witty videos, addressing social and relationship issues, delivered straight to camera, amused, and sometimes shocked, many people.

His fans — known as the “Chira Clan” — also wanted to pay tribute after his life was tragically cut short. They helped contribute to a funeral fund, which raised over $60,000 (£48,000) for the burial, leaving the organisers stunned.

But Chira’s family and neighbours are still reeling after thousands of them deluged his burial in a rather sleepy and remote village, Gitei, in central Kenya.

Tuesday’s event was initially planned for 500 people but the number of attendees swelled to more than 5,000.

“These were just random TikTokers, no-one really mobilised them. We actually thought they were attending another burial in the neighbourhood,” one of the event organisers, Chira’s friend Faustine Lukale told the BBC. Lukale is also known as Baba Talisha on social media, where he, himself, has a big following for his photography.

He said they had to quickly organise more tents and seats for the swelling crowd of mourners.

Though the youths had been praised for making the funeral possible, some of them appeared to misbehave.

Villagers said they had never seen such a massive and unruly crowd of young people, some of whom were drunk.

Religious figures could not even get an opportunity to lead the burial service as some seemed to shove other mourners out of the way to live stream, or record videos and take selfies around Chira’s gravesite, local media reported. — BBC.


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