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Meet the Kenyan Mortician on TikTok Promoting Death Positivity and Redefining Work Stereotypes

Meet the Kenyan Mortician on TikTok Promoting Death Positivity and Redefining Work Stereotypes
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At 26 years old, Filinda Wakuthi Kamau is a passionate advocate for changing public perceptions of her profession, but at first glance, she might seem like your typical TikTok influencer. With over 500,000 followers on her account, @frimahkuthi, her unique content sets her apart.

Kamau holds a license from the Kenyan Egerton University Funeral Home as an embalmer and funeral director. She represents a new generation of young morticians using TikTok to share informative videos, aiming to dispel common myths and misconceptions about their work.

Many people wrongly associate morticians with darkness, fear, and doom, but Kamau is determined to show the opposite side of the profession. She believes that being a mortician is about serving people, making grief more manageable, and not adding to their burdens. Kamau, a member of the Morticians and Allied Professionals Association of Kenya, has been working in the field since the age of 19 and has prepared numerous bodies for bereaved families.

Through her TikTok platform, Kamau takes viewers behind the scenes, providing insight into her daily routines, which include sanitizing, cleaning, and sometimes reconstructing deceased bodies, especially in the case of accidents. She also engages with family members to understand their preferences for funeral traditions and rituals.

Her TikTok account serves as an interactive channel where she discusses death, answers common questions, and shares the most challenging moments she faces on the job. In most of her videos, she can be seen wearing white overalls, gloves, and a face mask inside the facility where the deceased are kept.

Kamau’s journey into mortuary science was not her initial plan. Her dream was to become a nurse or doctor, but financial difficulties led her to explore the mortuary science field. She enrolled in a three-month course at the University of Nairobi, followed by a six-month internship, and eventually began working at the Egerton University Funeral Home.

Despite the somber nature of her work, Kamau feels honored to help grieving families find peace. Funerals, she believes, are for the living, helping those left behind remember a life and offering solace during difficult times.

One significant moment in Kamau’s career was handling the remains of the victims of the 2016 Kapenguria Massacre, a harrowing experience she recalls as the scariest part of her job. She also finds handling the bodies of babies emotionally challenging, given her role as a mother.

Meet the Kenyan Mortician on TikTok Promoting Death Positivity and Redefining Work Stereotypes
Filinda Kamau standing in front of the Egerton University Funeral Home building in Nakuru county, Kenya. Photo : Owen Konzolo, bird story agency

Kamau’s impact on the profession is evident, as more women are entering the field of mortuary science. While traditional stereotypes about women’s physical strength and concerns about exposing pregnant workers to embalming chemicals still persist, the landscape is changing. According to the Morticians and Allied Professionals Association of Kenya, more than 50% of graduates from mortuary science programs in Kenya are now women.

As the industry evolves to encompass event organizing, grief counseling, and cosmetology, young morticians like Kamau, along with social media, are reshaping the perception of the profession. TikTok has become a platform for morticians to promote “death positivity,” challenging stereotypes within the industry with a sense of humor.

Kamau may not consider herself an influencer, but her content has inspired others to pursue careers in mortuary science. She receives messages from people seeking guidance on how to start their journey in the field. She takes pride in being a part of something larger than herself and appreciates the opportunity to make a positive impact.

Her openness about death and funerals has helped normalize the topic, especially among younger generations. Some of her followers have even transferred deceased loved ones from distant places, influenced by what they have seen on her social media account.

Kamau emphasizes that passion is crucial in this field, and those without it tend to leave quickly. While her life and TikTok account revolve around subjects that many find macabre or taboo, Kamau continues to shed light on her profession and invites others to join a field that is essential but still viewed negatively worldwide.

In her view, death is not the scary part; it’s what happens before death that can be frightening. With her unwavering commitment, Kamau aims to change perceptions and promote a more positive and informed outlook on the profession.

Filinda Kamau standing in the cold room of Egerton University Funeral Home in Nakuru county, Kenya. Photo : Owen Konzolo, bird story agency

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Images courtesy of Seunmanuel Faleye - ApplesBite International Magazine, Judith Iyoh - ApplesBite International Magazine and Picasa
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Judith Iyoh writes fashion, lifestyle and real estate investment.

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