The Ones We Lost: How Reflecting on Death Helps Us To Lead A Meaningful Life

For many years, Oyunga has chronicled stories of life and death as both existential and ritual experience among the Luo community, Kenyans, and Africans at large. Since 2020, he has explored the themes of Living and Dying. Life exists in the midst of death and yet death remains one of the most disruptive affairs of our lives. The book revolves around the idea that the stories of death are the stories of life, and by focusing on how our loved ones died, we extract lessons for living fulfilled lives that prepare us for the inevitability of death. It focuses on how we can unravel the mystery of the separation, by accepting the reality of death and what it is meant to teach.



  1. Foreword
  2. Preface
  3. Introduction
  4. Is this How I die?
  5. Baba’s Gone
  6. The Unmournable Ones
  7. The Urban
  8. Children of a Revolution That never Was.
  9. Comedy and Tragedy
  10. Death of a Father figure.
  11. The Pugilist
  12. Our Man in Somalia
  13. Memories of Silence
  14. Fall of a Rugby Great
  15. Gone, without a whisper
  16. Dani is dead
  17. Digging your own grave
  18. Death in a strange land.
  19. Here But I’m Gone.
  20. The Winter of our lives.
  21. Baptism by Fire.


The Ones We Lost, is an anthology that comprises a collection of short essays and curated obituaries drawn from a two decade career as a columnist and a participant-observer of Kenyan social reality. Each story is independent but also interconnected, weaving the common thread of using those stories of those who died as a mirror to raise awareness in how we take responsibility for our lives.

Oyunga Pala is a Kenyan writer, journalist, and editor, whose literary craftsmanship spans over two decades. With narratives drawn from the global African community, he has kept readers engaged and provoked a rethinking of African modernities through versatile content curation,…

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