Where I come from, we have our ups and we have our downs. Sometimes misfortune befalls us and those that we love. One of those downs is death. When people die, we gather for several days and during this time we cry or should I say weep. We sing we dance. We pray. We eat. Neighbors come to sleep over. We have close family friends called sahwiras, who during the funeral have license to say what they please. It is their role. They laugh, they “deride” and ‘ridicule’ those that are crying. They make people laugh. During these times the deceased’s close family and friends are usually devastated. This is regardless of what the deceased was like – whether a thief, a looser, whether hopeless or successful…the pain of losing this person is just deep. There is no joy. So family members and friends mourn. At the same time they organize, they gather resources to see the funeral through. They know what took the life of the deceased (in many of the cases) and until the day the deceased passed on, they did their best to try and keep them alive but sometimes when the time to die comes there isn’t much we can do. Some neighbors are often equally sad because they knew the deceased. Other neighbors are not moved… It is allowed to feel that way. People that attend the funeral do so for different reasons. Some come to earnestly pay condolences, others just to show face, some to gossip, others to assist in any way they can. As the days unfold, there are those that will analyze the food, the people that turn up for the funeral, the coffin, the crying of the people. There are also those who will be just gossiping about the deceased. If the deceased was sick, they talk about how they would not have died if they had gone to what hospital, at which time and at what speed and taken which drugs and ate what food. They are entitled to it, that’s what they think. After a few days, the funeral ends with the burial of the deceased. And people disperse but the closest sometimes remain behind to console each other and clean up. After some period, we hear of another funeral in the neighborhood. If it is at the Sahwiras house….roles change. The Sahwira will be devastated and will be weeping. At this funeral the Sahwira is not the Sahwira anymore, he or she is the mourning one. Someone else has to be a Sahwira. If the death has happened at the family of those that were gossiping they also change roles…Other people have to take the role they had in the last funeral. Such is life concerning funerals and many other areas of our lives.
By Cleopatra Ndlovu October 18, 2013