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Yes, funeral photos show man buried in his car – but in the US, not Kenya

Photos of a funeral showing an old man being buried in his car have been getting attention on Facebook in a number of African countries.

In the photos a dark green car is being lowered into an oversized grave using straps. One shows the dead man dressed in a suit and sitting in the driver’s seat.

The photos have been widely shared in Kenya, Zambia and Nigeria. The extraordinary story has also been the subject of blog posts in Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria and Kenya.

Many of the posts claim the man was a “rich Kenyan”. One says a “wealthy man in Kenya” and “self styled multi billionaire” was “yesterday buried seated in his state of the art car amidst fanfare”. Another says he was Tanzanian.

Car funeral did happen, but not in Africa

The bizarre funeral did take place, but not in Kenya or Tanzania. The man was buried in his car in Saluda County in the US state of South Carolina on 8 September 2009.

Africa Check found that the images posted on Facebook are frames from videos of the event distributed by the Associated Press and WRDW-TV News 12.

The man was 90-year-old Lonnie Holloway, who was buried in the front seat of his 1973 Pontiac Catalina. In the passenger seat was Holloway’s collection of guns.

An article on online cemetery records database Find a Grave says Holloway died on 3 September 2009. He had asked to be buried in his car with his hunting rifles and $100 in his pocket.

“He is buried beside his wife who passed away 2 years ago,” it says. “His family members say that he has left his house to his dog.”

‘A unique individual’

US news site reported that the funeral was held at the Rock Hill Baptist Church in Saluda. It quoted the dead man’s cousin, Johnny McCloud, explaining why Holloway wanted his guns with him.

“He was a unique individual. He said when he died, he didn't want to leave his guns here because somebody might take them and shoot somebody, so he took them with him.”

Africa Check contacted the Associated Press for more information. Lynne Hill, AP’s archive accounts coordinator, confirmed that the funeral was in South Carolina.

“We do have some footage but it is not AP copyright,” she said. “It does appear the event took place in South Carolina. You can view the footage on the AP Archive site with story ID 792355.” – Dancan Bwire (10/04/19)


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