Reader’s guide on why the media keeps on file pre-death obituaries

Wangari Maathai

A bench at Uhuru Park’s Freedom Corner with Prof Wangari Maathai’s image. The Green Belt Movement founder and Nobel laureate, who died in September 2011, didn’t have her life story researched in advance.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Advance obituaries afford the media plenty of time to research and write full-length, in-depth chronicles.
  • They can also be updated whenever necessary — up to the day the person dies.

If you die and the Nation publishes a news story about you in its news pages, chances are that you’re a well-known person. If you’re particularly well known, the Nation might even write your obituary in advance and put it on file waiting for you to die. 

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