• September 25th, 2020

Please Don't Let Me Die

John Ekongo From the cradle to the grave, we all shall go when time permits and when your breath is no longer needed on this earth. "Death fear no more", Cecil J, Lewis once poemed. If my day comes to depart from this earth then, be my witness; my last will and testatment will read as follows: "Im dead - no funeral parlour, no after-party, get over me and go home." It is rude but justified, considering what funerals have become these days. Seems like many of us love death: not our own, but someone else's. It is not the sadness, but rather the funeral that excites us - the party, the alcohol, the food and the good time you will be having on behalf of the departed. So people get together to bid farewell to the deceased - some weep, some sing, some dance and some get fed and then get drunk. The richer you were when alive, the more people will attend your funeral, if there is food. I've seen some hungry mourners wailing louder than the next of kin, as if their weeklong meals depended on their teardrops. If you are lucky, some mourners will gate-crash on your premises with camping gear, and all, only to become part of your shopping budget. A Shoprite discounted Braaicuts bag is no longer enough, it needs to be multiplied by five. Some tears and faces are unknown, but they are crying out loud, no doubt about that. People would be relieved that a John has gone to rest. What follows is that happy drunkards seize the opportunity to tune their throats into gushing oil barrels. They drink satisfactorily until they pick up quarrels, arguing about who knew the departed better than all present. Does the dead have no dignity? Now on the other hand, when you honestly were thinking that your clan members were genuinely weeping for the loss of their beloved one, you see the contrary. That's when you see the uncles and aunts from afar dividing your property among themsleves, leaving your generations in rat povetry. In the fold is the brother-in-law you never liked, he has a pocketsize calculator with him, doing the calculations of your pension. At this point he has already made appointments with the MDs of GIPF and Old Mutual - as soon as your coffin is lowered into the earth, he is off to meet the schedule. All this reminded me of a story a friend shared with me. An overzealous "tatekulu"came to his brother's funeral, with his Smith&Wesson double-barrel shotgun. For the entire week during the ceremony, the old man was camping and guarding at the same time, gun loaded and dog by his side at his late brother's old green John Deere Tractor. Even summoning him to sit with other elders around the fire was a difficult task; he would not leave his inheritance unguarded - a clear warning should any one think of claiming the tractor as their inheritance right; you will bear the brand of his shotgun and a dogbite for extrta measure. At least, someone had the decency to tell him that the old rusty machine is obsolete and the last branch of John Deere had closed down many rainy seasons ago, so there is really no need to claim that machine, since servicing the old tool was going to be a pain. The old man would not be deterred at all; he simply would have none of it You see, people come and claim to have known the departed, while clutching a plastic bag full of goodies from your kitchen. Not only do some so-called crooks then bother those who remain behind that John owed me two thousand dollars. So families of the late please pay up. If I could have woken from death I'd get out of my coffin and kick you all out of my funeral and invite new genuine mourners and not wealth-scavengers, and then get back into my coffin again. Having said all that, this column came with sadness to your reading pleasure. A fortnight ago we mourned the loss of three generations in my hometown: maverick Mr Abisai Asino, a teacher, father, man of substance and a gentleman's gentleman; Stone Kaetoporua, comical and mesmerizing, holding midfielder of class; and the young Silas Ndahafa Armas, an energetic and vibrant nine-year-old. As the saying goes, from dust to dust, and from the cradle to the grave, we all shall return. May their souls rest in peace indeed.
New Era Reporter
2007-04-20 00:00:00 | 13 years ago

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