The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Would You Save for Your Funeral?

opinion

You know that the world is going cuckoos when people start saving for their own funeral. What in the world does that even mean? First of all, from the little education that I have acquired so far I understand that a person saves when they want to invest, buy something expensive or generally plan for a better life; medical insurance, education, vacations among other things - but it sounds ludicrous to start saving for a funeral.

I'm well aware that times have changed and people prefer to be prepared, however, funerals are a collective responsibility of relatives and the community. The same goes for weddings; unless you have a bank account the size of Sudhir Ruparelia's (East Africa's richest man), usually relatives and friends chip in one way or another. So, what is this nonsense of saving to save people from the hustle when you are dead?

A funeral is not like a wedding where people want to show off. It is a mourning period that is characterised by tears, grief, sorrow and despair. No one wants to know that the dead person saved for his funeral or he was buried in a fancy casket. Death is death, there's nothing interesting about a grave whether fenced or not. The mere sight of a grave gives chills to people, it is a signal that one's life is over and wherever they are, hopefully they are well.

Death is unpredictable which makes saving for a funeral a poor business venture. What if a person outlives his children, wife and most of his relatives, would you still go ahead to save for your funeral? The world is so money-minded and that is killing our morality. What do you gain by spending a million Rwandan francs on your funeral when your children will be starving even before you are lowered six feet under?

It is always drummed in our heads that "life is too short", thus the reason to enjoy it fully. Instead of saving for your funeral, get that money and go on a vacation with your family. Engage in community activities; contribute to the construction of hospitals, visit the sick, take care of your poor relatives, buy text books for the community school - anything!

When you live well with people and you are an active member of the community, there is no single time you will be a burden. If you ever think of saving for your funeral that is the day you will realise that you lived a poor life; empty of friends and good company. Besides, if you don't want to be a burden to your family, sign up for a science programme to donate your body organs or to be used in scientific experiments. I think that's more noble than paying for your funeral preparations.

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