HomeOpinion & AnalysisCultural responsibilities are cast in stone

Cultural responsibilities are cast in stone

Funerals of all shapes and sizes begin in town for urban dwellers and then the body is taken to a rural home, its final resting place. When a parent with a rural home dies, they are taken home so that they lie in the same place as other fallen relatives.

The Rev Dr Levee Kadenge

When relatives come to funerals, they console and pay their last respects. In line with the Shona culture, the last respects are not paid at the son-in-law’s place, but at the son’s place or at the deceased’s abode. It is cultural and given that the body of the deceased should lie in state at the home of a son and not at a daughter’s house, come what may. It is the man who has the prerogative to take charge of the funeral.

Even when a mother was taken care of at her daughter’s place, when death visits, the brother takes over. It does not matter how poor this man might be, the responsibility is his.

When you raise your children, you have to do it knowing that their roles differ and they must fit in those roles seamlessly. If they are clear about their roles, they will not fight or exchange bad words when called to take responsibility. There will be no question about who should do what when duty calls.

When children grow up, they must be prepared for big tasks ahead of them. These are the duties they have to carry out in the future. Boys will become men and head families.

As life happens, you will be placed in such a context that brings you to do what you have been prepared to for the rest of your life. If your mentors did things right, you will not fail in your responsibilities later on in life. In a rural setting, all those around you will prepare you for your future tasks.  

When you are being sent to look after cattle, parents are not busying you for nothing. They can beat you up if you fail in that task because they are teaching you to take responsibility. Just by herding cattle, you develop different qualities that are critical later in life.

Recently a local woman passed on. The funeral was at her son’s place. That is the time we learnt she had a son.

The son, who had been overshadowed by the girls, had to claim his place as one to lead the mother’s funeral and to host the mourners. His sisters contributed towards funeral expenses as the brother played the father figure. 

Since she was going to be buried in Hwedza, the funeral party left the son’s place for the rural home.

So, fathers and mothers, be assured that when you die the boys will take their roles as boys and girls will play supporting roles.

We saw it happen a couple of weeks ago. Such is the way of life when everything falls in place in the way the children were brought up. They are schooled to know the way they should follow, which includes taking care of elderly parents in time of need. We are happy everything went well and the son hosted the mourners. Thank you son for taking care of business when it was your turn. The last respects were paid at the rightful place.

Those with ears, let them hear.

l Levee Kadenge is a theologian based at United Theological College, Harare.  He can be contacted at leveekadenge@gmail.com.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading