Sunday, August 31, 2014

6 Facts I learnt from my Grandma’s Burial Ceremony

My beloved grandma died last month. It was a deeply felt pain for me and other members of our family. I and tens of her grandsons attended the burial which took place at our family compound in Otulu village. From the day I stepped my foot in the village at Otulu, on Wednesday, the 27th of August, to the night of the burial, I have been learning lots of things about customs, traditions and the legacy of grayheadedness.

1. A family is composed of different individuals with different point of views.

A family cannot be controlled by one single person, no matter how rich or influential. A family moves towards a singular direction as if controlled by a single head, as if with a singular purpose but is ready to derail from that direction at every moment – even a second’s notice. If you fail to recognize the rights and responsibilities of even one member in the family, the direction, no matter how noble, how grandiose, can be scuttled and scuttled without interference from any quarter in the world.

2. Your home can be a warzone or a refuge of peace.

Your home can be a bed of roses. A place that is filled with love; peace its lifeblood. Also, your home can be a warzone with historical wounds and fighting. It depends on how you turn the screws. The father, mother, children and extended family members each have their rights and responsibilities which each one of them is jealous of; neglect any and you’ll be creating a home of rancor and bitterness.

3. Customs and traditions are fallible.

True, we cherish our African customs and traditions, but they are fallible. It will be against my conscience to sacrifice cows or goats to bury my grandma. We cannot throw all of them overboard without scrutinizing each and every one of them. These customs were what preserved our Africanhood before the dawn of civilization; they helped our people to survive before education came. I believe we can cherish the joyfulness of understanding these customs and rejecting the ones that are against our humanity; those that were created in the age of ignorance. But the ones that make us unique and great, that bring out the best in us, should never be trampled with.

4. Advanced preparation is a key to safety.

Preparing for an event weeks or months before they come is cheaper and can save lives. Making ad hoc arrangements because you are trying to cut corners or because you are harboring sentiments against other members in the family could be costly and unwise.

5. Marriage is a sacred institution that ensures human survival.

Have you been to an event and realized that singleness is a disadvantage? I discovered this during the burial of my grandma. Singleness is not only a curse, it is the greatest disadvantage a man can give to himself.

6. Money makes things happen.

Money can make things happen but left on its own, money is a useless commodity. With people driven with purpose who are ready to make things possible, money becomes a vehicle that has unprecedented reach. If you have people who are behind you and no money, you’ll all be sitting ducks. If you have money without people behind you, your money is just useless commodity. Join both together, and you can move mountains.

Are there any realities you have discovered from a burial, wedding etcetera that is related to our African customs? Share them on the comment box below.


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