Thursday, February 5, 2015

Funeral 101

Dear Friends and Family,
We have had a most educational week.  One of members in the village of Motupa was planning a funeral for her father.  We were able to meet her father a few week ago as our member and her husband were married because the Labola was paid off.  It is something that we are trying to get changed since it can go on for years and a whole lifetime.  Usually the husband gets tired of paying it and leaves or just doesn't want to pay so they just have a baby and he goes away.  Here is a picture of the couple the day of the Labola ceremony.
The three women are grandmother, daughter, and mother, three generations.  They also have a little son, Opie.
We are trying to teach them Gospel Culture to help with family happiness.
This took place in December.  Last week, her father passed away.on Thursday.  On Monday the preparations begin for the funeral.  This is a week long process.  We went out on Tuesday.  The mother stayed in her room laying on the bed.  She did let us come and visit for awhile but did not leave the bed for most of the week.  Food was brought to her and she was not left along.  Someone was with her all of the time.  We asked what we could do for help and was told we could come out on Thursday to help cut up food for the men that are digging the grave.  These next pictures are us doing this.  There were many women, some helping and some sitting. You will see the women in a circle, they are cutting the chickens heads off and taking the feathers off.  I did not show this since  this is :G: rated.
This is a spoon to stir the pap porridge,  You will see many pots that are full of this and cabbage.

We were then instructed on how to cut up the chicken.  This included taking the feet off and putting them in one pot, the gizzards in one pot, and if the head is still there in one pot.  Everything is used including the head.  We were not too fast at this.

On Friday, they bring the body back home in a casket and it stays in the room with the wife for the night.  When they bring the body from the car a brass band plays.  This is the same band that will play to take the body to the funeral, to the grave, and between talks at the funeral.  After the funderal during the lunch it plays and marches up and down and does designs.

It was so hot cooking in those pots.  The weather is hot anyways, but the added heat and smoke was torrid!
Now we have the day of the funeral.  There were about 300 people there.  The women come the night before and cook all night.  Lunch is served on glass plates, no paper plates here! 

By the time we ate, there were no plates so people were using the serving dishes tops.  That is what we did.  There was pap, mashed pots, coleslaw, beetroot and two kinds of chicken.  All of this was done with great love and hard work.  These next pictures of the band and people.  I will send a picture of the grave later as it is with the other missionaries.  We were so thankful that we were able to help.  The people told us that it was really nice of us to come.  The other churches did not help and it was amazing that white people would come and help.  We are glad that we could.  They are wonderful people.

I forgot to tell you that the funeral started at 6:00 a.m..  We got up at 4 something and left our flat at 5:15 to get there.  The funeral ended at 12:00.  Very long!  Also, the mother and wife wrapped up in an animal furry blanket over their head and did not show their face.  It was so hot I thought they would pass away.  We did have two ladies that got so upset at the burial that they had to rub them and pull their hair to bring them back.  It was an experience.  On the way down the street we met a group of cows.
We hope you enjoyed our funeral class.  We will send you beautiful pictures of flowers next time.  I need to go and feed the Elders, they get so hungry!!!  Thank you for all of your prayers and emails.  We love hearing from you.
Sala Habootsie
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder and Sister Campbell


  1. Thank you for your interesting recounting of the funeral. We have been to many funerals in South Africa and none of them had a band. However most of the rest of it was very familiar. Did they have funeral insurance? If not it is very expensive for the family and they often have to go into debt to pay for everything.

  2. What a fun blog post! E Bryner's mom told me how to find your blog. And I laughed when I saw the shopping cart of chickens. My son, E Clegg, had the same pic on his blog this week in Daveyton. It's such a good idea...just keeping chickens in a shopping cart. Thanks for the pictures and stories. It's fun reading your blog.