I wished I were in that coffin

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Moses Tshimukeni Mahlangu

DEATH is the most scared of all human predicaments.

It has been described as an equaliser. The rich, poor, ruler and the ruled all meet in the grave. Biblical Solomon once said a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Paul in 1st Corinthians vs 4-26 refers to it as the last enemy for human kind that God will destroy eternally.

People are good at speechifying at funerals. Of late I witnessed two funerals with a difference. The first one was that of my uncle ubaba omncane uMasala Mahlangu.

Every speaker who took to the podium, glowingly heaped accolades on the man. However, the most touching revelations came from a member of his burial society and his son. The treasured legacy for the son was that his father bestowed on the family the legacy of loving God and reading his Word.

On the other hand a representative of the burial society narrated how my late uncle surprised them. When his house was gutted down by fire, miraculously the burial society money was saved. When the news spread that the house had been burnt down, every member of the burial society had written off the said funds.

To their surprise the man came to the meeting clutching a bag of money – tremendous honesty, choosing to be honest when all evidence gave one a leeway not to be. The brother to my late uncle recounted the man’s love for his relatives, as well as his humility.

Equally, neighbours and church members heaped good reports on the man in the coffin.

The second funeral was that of Miriro Pswarai, a fellow trade unionist and an activist. Her burial service took place on September 6 2014 at St Aidain’s Church, Chitungwiza. The officiating minister premised his sermon on using the allegory of one’s life, as writing own book.

What s the title of your life book, its chapters? Is it about promiscuity, backstabbing, dishonesty, corruption or hatred. Speakers who followed thereafter proved that Pswarai’s life book was different from the one referred to above by the minister of religion.

She was a leader par excellence, an activist, a preacher, an advisor, a very good mother and wife.

Her first-born son related his experience with his late mother. He narrated how he deserted school when he was doing Form 2 to join the armed struggle. On returning from war, he was encouraged to go back to school, resulting in him becoming a medical doctor.

He stressed how his mother battled with cancer from 2002 until she succumbed to it in 2014. The son extolled his father for standing with their mother to the end. Daughters equally had loving memories of their mother.

A rare revelation came from the daughter-in-law, who revealed that they had a woman to woman talk with her mother-in-law. First was the daughter who enquired from her mother-in-law whether she had wronged her in any way and the response was a big NO, equally the daughter-in-law had not been wronged by her mother-in-law.

What a rare relationship between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. What a rare encounter in family relationships.

The husband to the late woman owed it all to his good wife. The couple’s second born child who is a pastor wrapped it all so beautifully, as he bestowed all glory, and worship to God who is creator and sustainer of everything.

Common in the two narrated funerals are the accolades from across the divide. Most important is the witness of their family members. One can fool everyone else, but not his or her own family.

This reminds me of the great singer Freda Payne, when members of his family were falling on his shoulders with tears of joy, as they appreciated his fatherly attributes towards them; in response Payne said: “I am the richest man in the world.” Evidence given by family members is more convincing than any other.

After listening to and reminiscing over the two funerals. I indeed wished I were in that coffin. Once dead the devil has no access to you. The approval of people of all walks of life, is in most cases an approval of God (Peoples voices are the voice of God).

In both funerals, all speakers were genuine and convincing in their presentations. In your individual life what is the title and chapters of the book you are writing. Biblical Baalam wished to die the death of the righteous, that is finding a purpose for living and living uprightly.

Moses Tsimukeni Mahlangu is the general-secretary for Zimbabwe Urban Councils Workers’ Union. He is a labour consultant and arbitrator.

Feedback: E-mail: mosietshimu@gmail.com