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Communal duties have become a thing of the past

Matshediso Fologang

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Our society has moved on and has adopted all western values. Or is it a situation where we have partly remained traditional and partly a confused society? What has happened to our traditional communal character? We have become so westernised that we are no longer bothered by anything happening away from our immediate families.

This past two weeks I witnessed activities that left me outright confused. I still have no right explanation for these. In the villages where I grew up, social cohesion amongst the people was part of our being. People shared all the emerging chores and duties. This was more pronounced particularly in times of bereavement and weddings where the whole family clan and the village had a role to play. These roles and duties included sharing the costs of funerals and weddings, and this included each member of the family, clan and to some extent the whole village. In case of death, once such was announced, the entire village would gather at the homestead of the family of the departed.

This was during the days when we had no mortuaries in our villages, and the funeral would take place immediately. As part of the obligation, relatives and clan members would bring grain and other food stuffs to cater for those who would be engaged in different chores at the bereaved family home. This same response was also extended to weddings as the family would contribute towards the feast.

In each of these two ceremonies, it was a given that all family members and the clan were duty bound to somehow assist. For the bereaved, these duties included grave digging, providing firewood, and preparation of the homestead and all the foodstuffs. Both funerals and weddings were not expensive and families never had to worry about the financial strains endured in the modern era.
But now things have changed, and with our society becoming part of the so-called global village, we are witnessing a complete change in the involvement of people and relatives.

In the days where there were no mortuaries as indicated earlier, the expenses related to death were generally minimal. With the introduction of the service, funerals have become highly costly. It is not cheap to keep a corpse in the mortuary and the cost of coffins/caskets are just high. What is even more costly is the catering during the time leading to the actual funeral. I hear Kgosi Kgari III of Bakwena once tried to put control over this. The expenses are normally the responsibility of the immediate family members.

It is sad that all expectations are that one family must outclass another, and this doesn’t come cheap. What is even becoming emotionally burdensome is that even the insurance industries have joined in the fray with somewhat curious funeral covers that enhance the competition. We have actually been drawn into the business of thinking of death and not old age safety networks. People would rather take a funeral cover than a health plan. Traditional burial societies that were started by tribesman and women at the height of the migrant labour system away from home have also died a slow death.

The said communal responsibilities have become a thing of the past and the extended family and village moral fibre is dead. We have reached a level where we even don’t attend funerals that are supposedly not well-endowed (maso a sa nonang).Ceremonies have become the responsibility of the affected families while the rest wait at a distance for the final day where there is attendant food. We have copied the ways of the west but we are not doing it right, but we have also abandoned our own ways. So, in essence, we are a confused lot. We are neither traditional nor a western people. We are just a confused and lost lot!

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Ladies, go ahead and spoil your kings

Yvonne Mooka

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FEBRUARY is the month of love and the hopeless romantics must be looking forward to nothing but love, romance and a little chocolate indulgence and all the good things.

On Valentine’s Day, observed on February 14 each year, lovers spoil each other and express just how much they love and appreciate their better half. Often times, as women we are the ones that get pampered. It’s as if the day belongs to us. Let me challenge my sisters to put their men first this Valentine’s. There is so much pressure on our men to make us happy. Why not spoil him this year? I will assist you with a few ideas.

Simplicity goes a long way with men. Women like diamonds, and sparkles, but men like kindness and thoughtfulness. When out with your friends and his coke and cup come, open it up for him and pour his drink, put some napkins next to him, add the sugar to his tea. The man’s sole job is to take care of you in life, why not take care of them in whatever way you can?  The most important thing a woman can be to a man, is that bright ray of sunshine in his life. After a long’s day work, men want to come home, or meet someone smiling with a positive attitude to lift his spirits.

He most definitely doesn’t want to meet a nag. Spoil your man and make him feel adored and be the smile in his life. The moment he sees you he puts that work worry behind him for a few hours and focuses on you. That way both of you gain out of the relationship, as opposed to coming home to a heated argument and sleeping mad at each other. You will just wake up more frustrated and the awful cycle will begin.

Men love soccer, basketball, or whatever sport seems to be trending nowadays. A super easy way to spoil your man is to pay attention to his favourite player and team, because that way you can personalise something meaningful to him. Opt for his favorite player’s jersey, instead of a perfume or a regular shirt, and print his name and lucky number on it. Just like we like jewellery, they like jerseys. When two people meet, there is a period in which he meets your friends, you meet his friends and the little acquaintances begin.

Why don’t you exert the extra effort and spoil your man by building a relationship with his close friends? Before you came along, these people were very important to him, and if they are important to him, they should be extremely important to you. Men love to see that their women care and appreciate. If he is picking on weight, go to the gym together. Be his motivation. Use words of affirmation to show him you’re his girl. Speak about progress and results.

Tell him you are thankful for the way he executes his fatherly duties, his providing for you, his efforts to make you happy and assure him of your support. Be his number one cheerleader.
Facebook/Instagram: Yvonne Tshepang Mooka
Email: yvonnequeen2003@gmail.com

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It’s a shame: Death has been commercialised

Matshediso Fologang

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This past weekend there were five funerals in the village part that I live.

Men, women and youth thronged the homesteads and the graveyard where funeral rites were conducted. As I sat amongst men old and young, I could not help but recall the phobia that I had of death and all the funeral rites that followed. Through the ceremonies I watched the mannerisms and the accompanying conduct of everybody around. I recalled how revered these ceremonies were in my youthful days. The adult men sitting near me expressed concern over the current generation’s funerals and associated rituals.

In the days when I was brought up certain things that are done were unheard of. The way people behaved was far different from that of the current generation. In the early days death (loso) was observed and conducted with much order and respect. The rituals associated with the burial ceremony were conducted with awe. These days things have changed. This time it would be unfair to blame the young people for the change in our practices. When I grew up then there were no mortuaries and funerals were done immediately. The ceremony was simple and conducted with less costs. Those of the family who were outside the village would always find the funeral done and completed.

In the current era funerals have to be carried out after all the relatives and the entire extended have been informed. As they wait for the arrival of far-off relatives, there is a feeding and catering to the entire village. This is an extra burden on the family. In the days past, whatever catering and food preparations if any, were minimal and cheap. Whatever was prepared for the people was given to the deceased family. The whole village shared the processes leading to the burial.

Death was a communal activity. This time things have changed. The funeral preparations and associated ceremonies have become very costly. The costs associated with death are far exhorbitant than those incurred by our parents. As families wait for a week or so before the actual burial it means they alone have to bear the burden. What has changed is the expense relating to the coffins and the use of marquees.

The families have begun a culture of hiring all the other things that were not known as I grew up. Death has been commercialized. As the families want to do what the “Jones” do next door, people have been lured by insurance companies and mortuary operators to join schemes that will provide for all the necessities for a well-funded funeral. This has the tendency to stretch people’s budgets. There are no longer simple funeral ceremonies.

What is even worse is that these modern funerals have also in a way become fashion shows. People come to the funerals dressed to kill and therefore unlike in the past many come there to show off their “labels” and the latest gadgets. The attendant burial activities at the graveyard are now a thing for the less privileged. The fashion mongers just look on from a distance while their heads are dipped into their phones. Yet these guys are the first to disregard protocol at feeding points once the burial has been concluded. Shame on us!

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