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Man, believed to be world oldest buried at Gituraini, Nyeri

A man believed to be the world’s oldest Man, Julius Wanyondu Gatonga, was on Saturday buried at his home in Gituraini village, Rugi ward of Nyeri County.

Gatonga, died last Monday at Mukurweini Hospital, aged 137 years. According to his Identity Card, Gatonga was born in 1884 and has lived all his life eating traditional foods, a teetotaler and a non-smoker.

During his funeral service held at the PCEA Mihuti parish, speakers eulogized him as just, unique, loving, intelligent, unifying, useful, and servant spirit.

Family members leave PCEA Mihuti Church carrying the casket containing the remains of the late Julius Wanyodu Gatonga, after a funeral service. Photo by Mwangi Gaitha

“The name Julius (Acronym), the man was unique, that he even lived longer than most men that I know, the man was loving, he loved his family, he was intelligent, he was a unifying man and unified the people around him, he was useful and nurtured his family to the end, and he had a servant spirit, smart man and a soldier of Christ,” eulogized Revered Kennedy Muigai.

Revered Muigai called on leaders to emulate the life of the late Mr Gatonga, to serve the interests of the larger public and not themselves, shun corruption, adding that the vice had destroyed the lives of many men.

His son, Mr Jackson Gatonga, 77, said he was born at a late date when his father was aged, adding that his dad taught them the virtues of maintaining peace.

He added that his father survived on traditional food and that helped him to live that long.

However, the family of the late Gatonga laments that he died without being recognized as the oldest man in the world as no DNA test was done to establish his age despite their efforts to have the same done.

Revered Kennedy Muigai of the PCEA Mihuti Church speaks to the press. Photo by Mwangi Gaitha

According to the World Records Book, Kane Tanaka was 117 years old, having been born on January 2, 1903. She was confirmed as the oldest person alive in March 2020.

According to the same encyclopedia, Frenchman, Jean Calment, is listed as the oldest person to have ever lived in modern times. Calment was born on February 21, 1875 but died on August 4, 1997 at the age of 122 years, 164 days.

The late Gatonga’s grandchildren described him a ‘Shujaa’ (Hero) in their tributes and promised to emulate his life.

He is survived by two sons, four daughters, 29 grandchildren, 67 great grandchildren and six (6) great great grandchildren.

By Mwangi Gaitha

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