remembers with nostalgia the first time he treated a body for
preservation at the age of 14, the way he shook with fright thinking the
dead person would come back to life. the teenager then in standard six
frightfully but skillfully made the ‘six point’ injections on the
entailed injecting six crucial parts of the body with formalin, a
preservative to keep it from decomposing awaiting burial. But as much as
Subisuso Chebii was scared and stiff, this was the moment he has been
waiting for and he was glad his grandfather gave it to him.
said: “My grandfather was both the village veterinarian and mortician
and I was always intrigued at how he could be able to help preserve a
body until burial. I had an itch to learn and discover the mystery
behind the whole thing.”
that fateful day, he narrates, his grandfather now deceased took him to
a homestead where someone had died and asked everyone to leave the
house. “He had told me earlier, “Chebii, today you will do it, you will
do it” but I though he meant I would help him in one of his veterinary
jobs,” the now accomplished mortician recalls.
old man then prepared the chemicals, removed the syringes and suddenly
left the room and locked Chebii in together with the corpse before
telling him to go ahead and do as he had taught him.
than 10 years later following that watershed moment at a village in
Busia, Western Kenya, he is now a fully-fledged mortician at Nairobi’s
Chiromo Mortuary otherwise known as Chiromo Funeral Parlor.
is also a musician whose stage name is ‘Siso the Mortician’ and has
released several songs and hopes to record another track this year, as
he specializes in rap songs. He studied Mortuary Science at the
University of Nairobi and has worked on several other places before
landing a job at Chiromo.
says his first love was being a vet but human bodies used to and they
still do ‘excite’ him. He reveals that as a child growing up both in
Busia and in Nairobi, he would follow mourners just to have a chance to
see the dead.
would also visit City Mortuary in Nairobi when he was a very young boy
of around 11 years old, pay KSh 50 (N148) and go view corpses. “I would
follow a body just to view it or sometimes, I would hear that someone
has been killed and if I don’t see the body, it would be a nightmare if I
do not view it. That was when I would only be satisfied and it would
also help me from being ‘haunted’ by the image of the dead,” he says. The
entrance to the Chiromo mortuary. While other human beings are
disturbed by seeing cadavers, Chebii says he finds closure after viewing
Chiromo, he deals with chemical preservation of bodies, helping during
post mortems, reconstruction of decomposed or mutilated bodies,
cosmetology among others. But how does he juggle between the mortuary
and the studio?
be honest, work here takes much of my time but I get time to record in
studio mostly in the evening, being a mortuary attendant is a calling
and music to me is a conviction,” adds Chebii. Meet Subisuso Chebii:
Mortician by day, musician by evening.
was a time a two-year-old boy whose father had died insisted on seeing
the body and he was so insistent that I had to take him in. On seeing
the body of his father, he began asking his body why he had to die that
early and leave him..that moment broke me and I had to walk out,” he
All in all, Chebii says he enjoys what he does and believes his is a calling which he has no regrets of.