As my Ghanaian friends know, when someone dies, after a week, they sit down with the relatives of the deceased, where they find out what happened, when they will be buried etc…, on this day, people usually bring over drinks, a crate of beer, a crate of soft drinks as a token and then usually 40 days after this there is the burial (depending on the status of the deceased, if it is Ghana it will also depend on the schedule of those abroad).
On the day of the funeral itself, the well-wishers would donate money, a nice way of ensuring that the relatives aren’t overburdened by the costs.
Back in the day, when a relative died abroad, on their return, there would be a little celebration for those here that couldn’t make it, they would hire a community hall and it would be like a mini reception. Again, those here would make a monetary donation, the relatives have had to catch a plane, probably paid most of the funeral costs, and all the other costs.
Nowadays it is the norm to have a “funeral before the actual funeral”. Before the body is taken out of the fridge, before the scenes of over the top crying by the graveside and before tickets are even booked to get to Ghana, a hall is hired and people are gathered in their black attire for a funeral. Now, the underlying factor for these “UK” funerals is to recoup some of the money spent back home, let’s call a spade a spade. However, if it is after the fact, I can understand that it is done under the guise of celebrating the life of the person with those who couldn’t make it. However, before the burial, to me, (and it is purely my opinion), the one week is enough. Go bury your loved one and account for it later. It just seems all a bit too blatant in my opinion.
A family friend died back in December, he was a chief in his home town and so for whatever reason, he is going to be buried next month. So there he is, in the fridge, his wife lives here in the UK, a couple of weeks ago, we attended “his funeral”, two days later she was on a plane off to GH. Was the funeral a means for us to say goodbye or to build up capital for the plane fare + other costs, who knows, you decide. The other week, a friend of my dad’s mother’s funeral, he goes out to GH next week, maybe I am looking at things back to front, or maybe I just need to accept this change.
So that’s how things are done nowadays, either way, death in the Ghanaian community is a very expensive business, especially if you live abroad. So I guess I can’t blame one for cashing in where they can. After this, its three days of mourning and people drinking on your account and crying a lot then drinking some more, plus you have to feed some of them too. So what can I say, apart from thinking maybe I should move to Kumasi and become a funeral director, now that’s where I could really cash in!
Well back in the diaspora and learning something new each day, so if I find out anything new, I will share it with you. I have been invited to go speed dating so if I try that out, I will let you know…
Until the next time…