Rita Tinina given a fitting farewell in Narok

It was a grand farewell for prominent journalist and NTV editor Rita Tinina, who was laid to rest Wednesday at her family home in Olokirikirai, Narok County.

Hundreds of mourners from far and wide thronged the home of the late NTV output editor who was hailed as an influential journalist throughout her career.

The funeral was not just a sombre occasion, but a celebration of a life well lived with purpose and passion.

As colleagues, friends and loved ones gathered to bid her farewell, the atmosphere was one of mourning and reverence for a journalist hailed by many as a heroine.

Tinina’s last journey to her final resting place began at 7am when her body was moved from Umash Funeral Home in Nakuru County to neighbouring Narok.

A convoy of more than 50 vehicles accompanied the hearse carrying her coffin under police escort along the Nakuru-Njoro road.

Her close friends paid tribute to their own as her coffin was carried in a black Range Rover as part of a ‘road trip’ planned before her death.

They also boarded the vehicle decorated with a wreath of flowers which were a mixture of red, white and purple.

From fellow journalists to politicians, former bosses to family, speaker after speaker, mourners eulogised Tinina as a selfless journalist.

Collectively, the overriding message was her rich legacy as a champion of the rights of young girls from the Maasai community and impactful stories that resonated with Kenyans across the country.

Her friends remembered her as a social person who humbled herself and interacted with different people.

“She loved dancing and music. Especially reggae. As our school prefect she exuded authority yet was fair in her judgements,” read a tribute by alumni of Maasai Girls High School where Tinina schooled.

To her family, she was a daughter, sister, mother and a real warrior.

Colleagues also spoke of her dedication to her craft, recounting stories of her tireless pursuit in journalism.

In his message of condolence read by State House Press Secretary Emanuel Talam, President William Ruto said the late journalist’s life serves as a testament to the power of journalism to effect positive change.

Dr Ruto described Tinina as a passionate media professional who did her work with commitment.

“Rarely do we get to excellence in any profession, but Rita did. She was fantastic. To her, journalism wasn’t just a job or career, she always did her homework.

“She was an excellent journalist. To her, journalism was not just a job as she added depth to her stories and we can all tell this from her TV reporting. She told stories that matter, that live beyond individuals, stories of triumph and loss, and was a master narrator, ” President Ruto said.

Tinina, who was turning 46 this year, died in her sleep on March 17. She succumbed to severe pneumonia, according to a postmortem conducted last week in Nairobi.

Tinina was the mother of Mia Malaikah and partner of journalist Robert Nagila.

Among those in attendance were Nation Media Group Editor in Chief Joe Ageyo, Royal Media Services Editorial Director Linus Kaikai and NMG’s Group Managing Editor Pamela Sittoni.

Also in attendance were Senators Ledama Ole Kina (Narok), Enoch Wambua (Kitui), Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi), Crystal Asige (nominated), a section of Narok MCAs as well as MPs Babu Owino (Embakasi East) , Agnes Pareiyo (Narok North) and Anthony Kibagendi (Kitutu Chache South).

Mr Ageyo said that despite her busy schedule, she always made time to mentor aspiring journalists, imparting her wisdom and guidance generously.

He also spoke of her tenacity in pursuing stories, her empathy towards those she interviewed, and her infectious laughter that brightened even the darkest of days.

Mr Kaikai said although Tinina may have died too soon, her legacy as a professional and a friend would continue to inspire generations to come.

In an emotional tribute, Kenya Editors Guild president Zubeidah Kananu told the mourners that they had to let Tinina rest despite how painful it was.

“We shall pray that God rests her soul in peace. We need to let go because if we don’t she won’t rest. God says he is preparing for us a place.We learn from Rita’s death that we should love people. When you see people here, you know what kind of a person Rita was,” she said

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