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Living with the dead

Dear editor,
IN Mongu, some residents have no problems with living among the dead. They are illegally building houses on graves.
In sharp contrast, residents of Kitwe’s Rhokana ward are protesting the location of a funeral parlour in their residential area. They fear that the dead could be haunting them.
Both situations are weird. The Mongu residents have no fear for the dead nor for the law. They are evidently convinced that the dead are harmless. But building a house, not next to a graveyard, but on top of the burial grounds, is crazy. Some minds must be examined.
In Rhokana ward of Kitwe, residents curiously claim that a funeral parlour – or mortuary – in a residential area is unacceptable for various reasons. Among these reasons is that the spirits of the dead would be too close for comfort. Others contend that the location is a health hazard and these mortuaries must be located very far from residential dwellings.
One may ask these people, who include local authorities, where the current private and public mortuaries are located. Answer: Most mortuaries are in hospitals and clinics which are in the heart of residential areas.
Most public and private health centres are in residential areas and they preserve the dead within the premises until the bodies are ready for disposal. There are no isolated mortuaries built far, far away.
What matters is keeping these premises clean and we can live among the dead, but of course not in the manner some Mongu residents want to.