Ms Gaudencia Aura, the first African woman pilot and model for the popular soap brand Lux in the 1980s, will be laid to rest at her parents’ home in Mumias next week, her family has said.
Friends and relatives joined Mr Francis Gerald Aura in mourning the death of his daughter, who was a cleric by the time of her death. In her heyday Ms Aura, who worked for various airlines and modelling companies across the world, routinely featured on billboards and television screens.
Born in 1954 in Mayoni Village in Matungu Sub-County in Kakamega, she attended St Ann’s Girls’ Primary School in Mumias before joining Limuru Girls’ High School for her secondary education.
She later joined Highlands Girls’ High School in Eldoret (currently Moi Girls) for her A-level education. Her aunt, Dr Sabina Wangia Aura, said the former Miss Kenya died on February 24 in Nairobi.
“We found her unconscious in the house and rushed her to hospital where she died 12 hours later. She never told us what had happened to her,” she said.
Dr Wangia said the family was waiting for the postmortem report to know what killed their kin. Ms Aura served as an air hostess before becoming a pilot.
“Her KQ (Kenya Airways) licence expired in 1989 after working for 20 years,” Dr Wangia said. Ms Aura’s image also appeared on the covers of Drum and Viva magazines.
Her younger sister, Celestine Aura, said she also played table tennis and featured in the national team.
Ms Celestine Aura said her sister joined the church upon retirement and went on to become a pastor at Winners Chapel in Nairobi.
“She was steadfast in the church and remained a prayerful woman who was eloquent in English and loved children. She would pray for a bad situation to change and it would happen,” Celestine said.
She said the burial will be in Mayoni next week.
“We’re holding family meetings both in Nairobi and Mumias before we agree on the burial date. But, hopefully, it is next week,” she said.