|Dead turning in their graves|
|Thursday, 21 June 2012 12:00|
WHEN someone dies, friends and relatives have final moments with the dead at the mausoleums.
Close relatives and friends shed tears in memory of the good things the dead person did during his lifetime. Of course, there are elements that remember the bad and evil deeds one did while alive.
They might hide feelings but deep inside, their hearts will be on fire.
It is common that in the first weeks of burial, heaps of soil cover the coffin of a dead person and those with fond memories visit the graveyard to keep it in good shape.
Some people plant flowers, lay wreaths of all kinds and grow lawns in an effort to beautify the graves.
In Harare today, though, respect for graveyards and cemeteries is simply no more.
At the City of Harare-owned Granville Cemetery popularly known as Kumbudzi, many rowdy elements frequently visit to excavate graves and open coffins to search for valuables such as watches and expensive items. Some even steal caskets they resell to unsuspecting mourners.
Some vendors at the popular Mupedzanhamo Flea Market use the adjacent Pioneer Cemetery and Matapi Flats to keep their wares.
Some sections of the security wall around the cemetery have collapsed rendering it accessible to al and sundry. The cemetery has also been turned into a human waste disposal site.
A visit to the cemetery painted a picture of human waste littered the corners of most graves.
One will be forgiven to conclude that human waste has become a form of décor or new plastering introduced to beautify graves.
“One begins to wonder what would happen if the angry dead person would stick out his hand from the dust and prick the naughty behinds of these people who use their graves as toilets.
“This is lack of respect for the dead at its worst and the City of Harare should do something about this.
“They should first make available more public toilets as the area around Mupedzanhamo Flea Market is very busy,” said a vendor, Mr John Makombe.
He said some people have used the cemetery as a love nest and have been caught in the act on several occasions.
Another vendor who only identified himself as Prosper said they have resorted to using water from the cemetery because tap water is not always available in the flea market.
“I store my wares in the cemetery because the city council charges high rates when we declare our goods and we cannot afford that,” lamented one vendor who preferred anonymity.
Another vendor, Mrs Manjoro, said they used the cemetery to relieve themselves because those in the market are always blocked.
“The toilets are also overcrowded so we use the cemetery to cover up for what the council is failing to do for us,” Mrs Manjoro said.
She said the cemetery has turned into a convenient hideout for those wishing to become intimate because of overcrowding in Mbare hostels.
“People are overcrowded and most bachelors resort to using the cemetery as a bedroom because there is no privacy. Others use the cemetery to engage in intimacy with their “small houses,” she said.
At Greendale Cemetery mourners have to walk over piles of sand or sit on top of a stranger’s grave during burial processions as they are rather crowded.
This happens despite relatives coming on anniversaries to plant flowers and regularly maintaining the loan.
However, Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers’ Association secretary for information and publicity Mr George Kandiero said Zimbabweans have to treat graves with respect at all times.
“We have lost our identity as Africans and as Zimbabweans. Graves are resting places for dead people and they have to be treated with extra respect.
“If one indulges in mischief on graves, chances are very high that one might have a bad omen that comes to torment him or innocent people from his family.
“This happens irregardless of culture and colour of the skin. When a person dies that is not the end of him, rituals can be conducted afterwards such that the spirit can guide living members of his family,” Mr Kandiero said.
He added that stealing ornaments from graves could evoke avenging spirits.
“Stealing valuable things from graves of the dead can trigger bad omens and spirits that can come after that. “Such valuable things can symbolise something important to a dead person and obviously it would not end there,” he said.
Mr Kandiero added that people indulge in sex in cemeteries and graves in an effort to complement their juju.
“Witchcraft is prevalent and people are given medicines that require them to have sex in graveyards. That is the worst form of witchcraft that has been happening since people want to use spirits of the dead in their businesses,” he said.
Mr Kandiero said parents and elderly people have to lead by example and earn respect from younger generations.
However, Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Leslie Gwindi refuted the claims and said people do everything out of mischief.
“There are toilets and adequate water supplies in the flea markets at Mupedzanhamo but people do not want to use them. What they are saying cannot be a legitimate excuse on using graveyards as toilets.
“In addition, illegal vendors might not have access to the facilities and are probably those saying these things out of respite.
“We also provide enough security but criminals always find a way to steal things from the graveyards,” Mr Gwindi said.