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When the graveyard becomes boring

A GRAVE yard.

TORN APART with BOYD PHIRI
LOCAL musician Petersen did not know what citizens may decipher from his song ‘Kumanda kuli boring’ (it is boring at the cemetery).
But if claims of resurrections in the hood are anything to go by, his upbeat solemn song is now giving meaning to the exhumations being conducted in cemeteries nowadays.
Two to three years down the line, the country is now proving Petersen true. It has become fashionable to hear news about people claiming to have come back from the dead.
This phenomenon is growing into an easy feat among many people in the hood despite the spectacle it creates not only to grave diggers, but pastors as well.
In the last five years many people have re-appeared in the hood with claims that they have resurrected from the dead.
The story which has hit headlines in recent weeks of a girl on the Copperbelt claiming to have died and brought back to life is the latest in many such assertions.
Those who remember Grace under her adopted name Nyanyiwe Soko in Lusaka’s Mtendere township would attest to the fears gripping the hood because of a spate of resurrection claims.
Like Winnie’s latest resurrection claim, Nyanyiwe Soko attracted a tag-of-war between two families, who claimed paternity to the girl. Only the ghost knows how that story ended.
Last year, a man in Western Province claimed to have resurrected much to the excitement of one widow, who embraced him as her once departed soul-mate.
Call it love at second sight, she believed he looked very much like her ex and she had no reason to stop renewing her vows with him despite doubts among many people in her community.
Believe it or not, all this happened in front of a pastor, who was caught up in the mix of the purported miracle.
It’s not as if hood-dwellers have a bone to chew with mortuary attendants, but it would appear that the ghost of the hood’s notoriety is coming back to haunt everyone.
Of course, stories of ghosts coming back to guzzle opaque Chibuku beer in some council taverns at night have been told since the 70s and 80s.
Some of us who grew up in Lusaka’s Matero township lived with the belief that the closure of a council tavern near old Chingwele Cemetery was as a result of rampaging ghosts.
I guess the barman did not give back correct change to some clients before they died of alcohol-related illnesses.
Another story was told of a departed sex worker called Rosemary, whose spirit came back to haunt male patrons in her once favourite watering holes in Matero township.
Men had to be sure of which woman they were going to hook for the night or risked being found at a cemetery by grave diggers early in the morning.
But don’t be scared, the ghost of notorious 80s armed robber Nevers ‘Spoiler’ Kapende is not coming back to the police post near you.
Obviously, the issue of people in the hood ‘resurrecting’ every other day is worrying, not only to pastors, but the grave diggers as well.
Imagine all notorious criminals who wreaked havoc in the 70s and 80s coming back from the dead to compete with Tokota boys, one of modern-day criminal gangs.
Of course, they would find that the Zambia Police Force has changed its name to Zambia Police Service.
Perhaps this is why some police posts in the hood closed at the peak of the cholera outbreak in Lusaka during the rainy season as a gesture of service to the hood.
Certainly, the police and the council would have a tough time trying to exhume their graves to ascertain their claims of having resurrected, and possibly re-arresting some of them.
What if sex workers who patronised bars and taverns in the early 90s came back to life to continue where they left or possibly take part in the television reality show ‘Ready for Marriage’, which used to target prostitutes on Muvi TV.
Obviously, the hood would see a boom in population with new arrivals, and landlords would have a tough time screening them to know who was up to date with paying rent.
Well, it is difficult to believe all the resurrection claims in the hood, especially that each time authorities exhume the body of a person presumed to have come back to life they still find remains of that person.
Besides, this whole thing is bringing division among families claiming paternity of people who claim to have resurrected as the once ‘departed’ souls mix up identities of their parents.
The question is: Where do these people who claim to have come back to life really come from?
Could it really be true that kumanda kuli boring (it is boring at the cemetery), going by Petersen’s satirical but upbeat song?
Well, Petersen may hold the key to the current mystery surrounding the spate of resurrections if he can only produce another song assuring that ‘kumanda kuli life’, (there is better life beyond the grave’.
Perhaps this would stop the current spate of purported resurrections and their resultant paternity tag-of-war between families.
bjboydphiri@yahoo.com




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