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Opinions of Thursday, 11 March 2010

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

How Unworthy are the Expensive Ghanaian Funeral Celebrations?

The disgusting opulence associated with the Ghanaian funeral celebrations has been submitted for dissection. A long knife has been pulled to flay the obnoxious reasons behind such irrelevant display of affluence on the death of a family member. When one had been denied the basic comfort of life whilst alive, what would be the ultimate profit to him/her when great expenses are made on his death to show how affluent his/her family is? Such show of wealth in situations of death is to me the vanity of a selfish life.

There is the need for the re-examination of the Ghanaian, especially the Ashanti, culture in this regard. When one is alive and the person needs help, we need to assist the person as much as we can. When one is taken ill, we need to offer the person all the needed financial and moral support as may be needed, and within our fullest capability. This is much better than withholding such assistance only to stupidly waste money in what is a showing off at the person's funeral.

God greatly appreciates when help is offered our wives, children, brothers, sisters, family members, neighbours and most importantly, the needy. What does it profit the dead to be laid in state on golden bed with all the floral display and with relatives wailing uncontrollably if he/she had been denied assistance when it was vitally needed? Those of us that have thus far indulged in such acts should bow down our heads in shame. I am equally as guilty as most others. I have done it, I won't deny that. But will I do it again? No.

May I take this opportunity to pay a glowing tribute to a departed compatriot? May you permit me to paraphrase or quote Marc Antonio from the Shakespeare's novel "Julius Caesar?" Friends, Ghanaians, countrymen, lend me your ears, for I've come to bury Yaw Opoku but not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them while the good is oft interred with their bones." One or two people may say Yaw was ambitious and if it was so, it was a grievous fault and grievously had he done it. Yaw, as I knew him, was very outspoken. He was sincere, honest/fair, firm and friendly. He was ready to assist his brothers, sisters and friends whenever he was called upon even if it was at the cost of his personal comfort. Was this selfishness and mischievous? Yet, certain individuals with selfish agenda saw him as such. Now, he is gone to come back no more irrespective of how he was perceived by those he interacted with. Some people may have liked him for his frankness while others may have sorely hated him for it. Be that as it may, he is now perpetually silent, bidding all and sundry, foes and friends alike, adieu!

There should not be any shedding of crocodile tears by ones enemies when he/she dies. What is shedding of crocodile tears, one may want to know? It means to show sadness that is not sincere. Some stories say that crocodiles cry while they are eating what they have attacked.

Yaw did help many not only to briefly experience city life but to become city dwellers. Are not some of these same people who later caused him anguish of grief? He had confided in a friend, "I am dying. I am in need of financial help but people don't see it and the help is not forthcoming. On my death you will see how an expensively big funeral will be organised as a last respect in my honour. Will it be worthy, he asked?" Individuals are to draw their own conclusions.

I pray each family found guilty of this true story will reflect solemnly on their actions in order to draw better positive conclusions. Care about one another as your Father in Heaven cares about you. In Unity we stand, and divided we fall.

Yaw, may your soul rest in perfect peace.

Rockson Adofo