Mahachi is right: Chaotic funeral (Pt 1)
Published On August 29, 2015 » 3202 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Entertainment, Others
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Njombwinjo - newIF truth be told, Morgan Mahachi was not really doing his wife’s funeral unique and unusual style just for the sake of being stubborn or troublesome.  It appears he had a bone to chew with society. He seemed to be unhappy with many of the funeral rites and rituals as we did them and had set himself on a war path with ‘tradition’!
He was never ever – for nothing – going to be rude and troublesome to the relatives of his wife, nay his own, over how they conducted his dear departed wife’s funeral.  He had been so very loving to Lona while she lived and had enjoyed amicable relations with all his in laws.  If over the burial of his wife he had started acting crazy, and indeed a few people did believe he had become insane perhaps as a result of the long period of nursing his ill wife and seeing her suffering, or the plain shock over the fact that she had indeed died, they simply missed the point – that he was in protest against certain societal norms!
He was questioning why certain patterns of behavior must be tolerated simply because a person had died. Mahachi appeared to be questioning the many inconveniences people accepted to be subjected to before they could bury their loved ones.
Clearly, if Mahachi were to have his way, he was proposing much less fussing around because a person close to us had died.  He was for more relaxation, and the need for people to rest and relax than be stressed even more, because the loss of a loved one was in itself a very stressful affair.  This is the reason why, even as relatives who had heard about what was happening at Mahachi’s funeral house were rushing to get there and help get things in order, he appeared to be hell bent on creating more havoc.
For instance, he politely told all those who were slowly milling around either standing or sitting on the sofas which had been brought out of the house against his wishes that he had no intentions of serving mass lunch just because his wife had died.
He stated that those who wished to hang around should vacate at lunch, or buy or eat lunch elsewhere then return and continue their unwelcome idling.
“This is why we will never progress and prosper as a country,” he argued.  “Just because one – only one person – has died, the whole community must drop all work and come to a standstill?  These are valuable man hours you want to waste!  Lona is dead, she is gone, but for YOU people and your children and those that may depend on you, life must go on.  Go do some work and find something to eat, man!”
He insisted there WOULD be meals served at all meal times but only for those who ordinarily were inhabitants of his house – including and especially those who had been part of the team providing the home based care to his late wife during her long illness.
He didn’t see the need for so many people to come from other towns and cause unnecessary congestion all around and also expecting his already stressed budget to be stretched further by providing meals for scores of other people, including hangers- about.
Worse still these funeral processes tended to deprive already tired and depressed close family members their opportunity to sleep in peace and catch up on much needed rest.  Recuperation per se!
“There is absolutely no reason why anyone should sleep outside this house,” he declared. “Not least myself.  I will not sleep on a sofa outside.  Tonight, after so many months of sleepless nights because Lona was panting and groaning and …in great pain, needing our attention, tonight I should sleep comfortably…in my bed.”
One of the influential uncles of Lona came in a convoy of three vehicles, one of which vomited three fully armed policemen, complete with AK47assault rifles, all meant to intimidate the in law everybody had been made to believe had gone insane.
The supposedly insane in law instead eyed the unfolding scenario with an expressionless face. Even when the uncle started throwing his weight around and asking why there appeared to be so much confusion about the funeral, Morgan Mahachi told him there was no confusion whatsoever, merely misunderstanding of his rightful thinking; also that there was no basis in law whatsoever for him, Lona’s uncle, to come to his house with cops when he should be helping him to mourn his wife in peace, to mourn her the way he felt was best to be able to remove the lump of agony and sorrow in him, and indeed, at a time he most needed to be consoled by everybody.
He told the cops they were embarrassing the Police Service by coming to a funeral house with loaded assault rifles when right then criminals were obviously wreaking havoc somewhere and there was no police presence because a rich man had commandeered them to his irrelevant personal errands.
“There is no war here, Constable,” he declared eyeing one of them in the face the way boxers sometimes do at the start of Round 1.  “There is no illegality here.  There is no crime taking place here.  I am just taking decisions on how to mourn my wife, which people are not accustomed to, so they are shaken.”
“No!” bawled one policeman.  “This is conduct likely to cause a breach of peace. We can lock you up.”
“You and the one who brought you here are the ones engaging in conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace.  You are the ones exciting everyone around here with your uniforms and weapons!  YOU should be locked up for conduct.  I want no trouble here so please depart.  All is well here.”
Because he was determined to appear learned and influential, the uncle of Lona soon departed with a basketful of threats.  He returned a few hours later with what was perhaps the first Court Injunction over a funeral process – preventing Mr Morgan Mahachi from proceeding in any manner with his wife’s funeral that did not have the consensus of all relatives.  The High Court had now debarred Mahachi from making his point, ordering him to comply with what others wanted.
The good thing though was that at a certain point, perhaps after both sides had been heard, the Court would rule on how the funeral should be conducted.  Most importantly, Mahachi could not bury or incinerate his wife’s body that day!
He still managed towards the end of the day to chase the UCZ church choir from his wife’s mother’s congregation and the Pentecostal mob of excitable youngsters that had started offloading musical instruments for an overnight vigil of praise and worship songs.
“No, no, no,” he declared.  “What’s all these musical instruments for?  What’s this stuff for?  Guitars, drum set, piano or whatever else…You want us to be singing and dancing all night because my wife has died?  Is that the way to express your sorrow?  No guys, we won’t allow that.  It’s immoral to do that.  Go tell the Bishop he will not deliver any church service here. The church is not welcome here.
All this could have made sense when Lona was alive, for her to be encouraged through the word of God, to be soothed with sweet gospel melodies, not now when she won’t hear you.  It’s meaningless!  If you are looking for people to convert, there are always plenty at the markets, in the bars, name them.  Set up your music systems there and preach to the people you find there.  Not at my wife’s funeral.”
The influential uncle was getting pretty worked up and readying himself to pounce for a
Contempt of Court Action against Mahachi.  But some elderly man, his own relative from Chipata Compound, advised him to just sit down and watch.
“This is very unusual,” he said.  “I have known Morgan Mahachi from the time he was courting our daughter Lona.  He has never behaved irrationally at any time.  Handle him with care, with understanding.  The Bembas say don’t look at the mouth of one who is crying because it is bound to be ugly.
Mahachi can behave as mad as he is now behaving but don’t look at his mouth.  He is crying.  He has lost a wife.  Give him time to get over it.”
“But he is causing so much confusion,” protested the uncle.  “We are supposed to be making progress but nothing is moving.  Are you aware he even wanted to burn the body of our niece?”
When the elderly relative insisted that there should be caution, the influential uncle, not used to being overruled, pompously walked to his immaculate Mercedes and drove off, the three policemen in tow.  (To be continued)

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