I Am African But…Burn Me When I Am Dead!

By (Lesotho)

I know you are probably wondering why a 21-year-old is thinking of death especially since talking about death to Africans is what blasphemy is to Christians. Thoughts of what I wanted after my demise began plaguing me from a young age because I knew for a fact that I did not want to get buried. It is not a result of covid-19!

I remember attending my grandfather`s funeral and getting a cripple of anxiety when the casket went underground. At the time, I did not understand what was going on as I was too young to fathom my feelings into words. One thing I knew for sure was that the feeling was different from the anguish of losing my favourite person. The feeling reoccurred at every funeral I attended afterward when the casket went six feet under. I would feel suffocated as though I was the one who was being buried. Fortunately, being a reader that I am: I stumbled upon cremation. It was my A-HA moment!

Perhaps the thought of suffocating in a casket stemmed from my many asthma attacks which trouble me. The asphyxiation I get is indescribable. I know that once I am dead, I won`t need oxygen but the thought of being stuck in that box then further be buried absolutely terrifies me. I often find myself gasping for air each time I am at a burial, thankful that I still have the luxury of breathing. Not necessarily for the gift of life but of having oxygen in my lungs. I can completely take being burned to crisp any day.

I know I probably sound weird but I promise you that I am completely normal with a dose of craziness here and there. (Jokes! Not really.) Cremation just makes so much sense to me. Besides the fact that I will avoid possibly turning into worms in the near future (or whatever happens once one is underground) it will also save on costs which walk hand in hand with a burial.

I know that in my culture burying someone is important because they will soon turn to ancestors. However, who said cremation erases my becoming one? I believe it is my spirit rather than the body that matters

What`s more, it won`t be necessary for a lot of people that I have not spoken to in years to swarm my house like bees for two weeks depriving my loved ones of privacy to grief. As soon as I am cremated, my family will hold an hour-long service and serve guests platters and wine. Speeches will be kept short because people tend to overstate the life of the deceased.

Whatever happens to my ashes is solely up to my loved one, as long as they don’t bury my body 6 feet under. I know you are probably scowling at me thinking that I want to turn my back on my culture by not slaughtering a cow. Yet, these are my wishes. I am an African but…. Burn me when I am dead. 

Yet another installment in the I am African but… series. You can still take part in this too. If you are intrested just a shout out to Gelax and Valentine on their emails gelaxchatroom@gmail.com & valentinemakoni@gmail.com and be part of the fun.


6 thoughts on “I Am African But…Burn Me When I Am Dead!

  1. I was intrigued by the way you weave words together. The word cremation standing alone can not bring out the vivid picture that your paint. Most appreciated. I will ask my people to burn me too.

    Liked by 2 people

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