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When mourning turns festive

Andile Mdeleni wonders what has happened to time-honoured customs at township funerals.

An After Tears gathering. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

I Iam flabbergasted by the trend that I have noticed at township funerals.

Funerals have become reminiscent of carnivals in the Caribbean islands, where participants celebrate with glee.

Some mourners have taken the notion of “less being more” to heart. Young female “mourners” prefer cleavage-revealing tops, which have replaced the traditional blouse.

The 22-inch weave hairstyle is also being preferred ahead of the conservative doek, and the customary long black dress has been substituted with the trending pink miniskirt. Have we no respect for the dead anymore?

For far too long it has been accepted that funeral receptions, euphemistically called “After Tears”, are platforms where mourners drown their sorrows after the burial service.

It’s probably time that we go home after the tears and stop attending funerals with cooler boxes neatly packed with booze in the car boot. The habit of going to funerals with the intention of procuring concubines is also an embarrassing phenomenon.

Growing up, funerals afforded solidarity among families and neighbours alike. They epitomised the spirit of ubuntu/botho, where whole communities would put their differences aside until the deceased was buried with dignity.

Nowadays, the time-honoured custom of helping the family of the deceased get closure is not observed. This raises the questions: what has happened to our society and are we governed by our customs or egos?

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