You can miss a party but you cant miss a funeral

12 september 2014

Phili sounded not ok on the phone, my friends told me. When I rushed home she was crying on the ground in front of the tv. “Ntsiki died in a taxi accident” . Nsiki is Phili’s youngest sister always bubbly. She was 17 and pregnant. She died in a taxi accident, together with 15 others.  Just like that. Life is cruel, and doesn’t have any reason in relation to death.  It is so cruel that it can’t be true. Never Nsiki again, that is unthinkable. We sit together on the ground in front of the tv. I don’t know what to say.  After phone calls to her parents there is no escape. The pain is black and raw. I feel helpless. Of Couse we all now accidents like this happen everywhere, road accidents, the outbreak of a virus where no one asked for. Innocent people die every day, but for some reason we think it will not happen to us or our beloved.

The next weekend is the funeral. Phili already went during the week. I come later with our daughter of 6 month old, who is smiling all day. Maybe she can be a small light. When I arrive tents are built around the house, 25 aunts are already cooking for day’s they expect more than 600 people and they all have to sleep and eat. Everybody in the street helps, everything is practical. The food, who will speak, who can speak, chairs, mobile toilets, the high school;  Ntsiki was doing her last Matric year, her school friends will be present as well. There are so many aunts and uncles, most of them I don’t know, I think Phili also doesn’t know some. They all smile when they see Nondalo.

After the Christian serves in a long line cars slowly move to the cemetery. There are so many people, that the police is assisting the line of cars. Beautiful words spoken by the headmaster and many others. Friends from Durban arrived to our surprise, they drove the 4 hours just to support Phili and me. I know in black culture you can miss a party but you can’t miss a funeral. Nondalo smiles, she is curious who all these people are, but most of all she is focussing on her mother, what is wrong with her?

I try to imagine, when one of my children would die like this, together with 15 others, because of reckless driving from the small public transport taxis. I would beat them up, start a campaign to make those transports safer, find every newspaper and television Chanel. But that is not how things are happening here, people accept death and move on. Before I sleep I realise how much I love South Africa how much I can learn. I cry silently, we will never see Nsiki again.