The past couple of weeks have been full of gloom and sorrow in Uganda. Death occurred to us. From Boniface Byanyima, Ivan Semwanga to Prof. Lawrence Mukiibi. It is sad and may all their souls Rest in Peace.
One thing that stands out though when death hits, is the burial. I guess because it is the most painful part. For those who have been following closely, you have seen how all the above mentioned prominent people have been buried to suit their wishes and status, so I will spare you the details.
One thing that one cannot help but take note of though is how society focuses on sending one off in the way or through the eyes of how they lived.
What was the “Rich Gang Crew” doing at the late Ivan Semwanga’s grave? Splashing money and pouring alcohol mbu to depict and respect him and the life he led while still alive! Has society come to a point where they have ceased to respect that moment of sorrow? Like seriously what was that?
Everything seemed okay until that part. I mean, everything from the pompous rides that picked and escorted the corpse to the late’s home, the crazy villagers that climbed trees and minted a dime by selling everything to milk the opportunity, the circus that filled the media about the ongoing wrangles between his ex Zari Hassan and family over his estate to the magnanimous numbers that filled each and every where the corpse went from South Africa to Uganda. Yes, it was all okay, it is expected, it’s what happens blah blah blah! But that booze and splashing money part? Now that is where the eyebrows were raised because in all honesty it did leave a bad taste to the mouth.
Oba splashing the money would have been okay but the booze part? Nara! Respecting the dead is one value that we have always held as Africans. It is so important that even the wealthiest of men were honoured and buried in ways that “respected the dead”. In some traditional society the ancestors are honoured by pouring some liquor on the ground before one drinks as a way of sharing with them. Rich people are also honoured by being buried with some of their precious items. All these are humble, very respectful ways.
The Rich Gang ways was awkward and misplaced. And while I know that one may be quick to argue, that was the best way to celebrate Ivan Ssemwanga, it just seemed so wrong especially since this is the memory that his children will forever have. Would it have hurt if the late was just accorded a serene burial minus the noise and all that drama as he made his final sail into his eternal resting place?