Monday, 27 April 2015


 Fridays in Ghana are famous for a number of things including adorning African wear (always first on the list),  preparing for the weekend, making romantic get-away reservations, exeats, general cleaning, trips to the village, Friday night partying and what is more important, preparing to perform the  transitional rites for the dead and in effect, preparing the dead for burial. Funeral rites or the final rites of passage are observed differently based on factors like religious affiliation and ethnicity. Sufi Rumi has a very popular quote which can relate to death and final funeral rites that "the light is the same but the lamps differ". In the same vein, death is one irrespective of the "exit procedure" but the funeral rites vary. Sometimes I am in a constant battle with myself whether to consider death as the end to life in totality or the beginning of life in a world unknown to the living. This battle is a whole different controversy all together. It would be highly dependent on one's creed and since I would not want to be the catalyst for a religious conflict, I would leave that debate for another day.
I happened to be a passenger in a commercial bus when we passed by a morgue. There were a lot of people clad in red and black in front of the mortuary. I believe they were waiting on the "landlord" of the mortuary to release their dead body for the rites to commence. If you have ever come across the quote of Isaac Asimov that "Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome", what I am about to share will not be a surprise. It is quite amazing the spectacle that is performed when the living visit the mortuary. Sometimes I believe their actions even scare death "herself". In my case, there were people scattered in front of the morgue with men on motorbikes engaging in stunts only fit for daredevils. Anyway, it is their funeral if you asked me. I once saw a Yiddish Proverb which read "It's astonishing how important a man becomes when he dies". If you have ever attended a funeral in Ghana, you would know what I mean. The pageantry involved is awe-inspiring. Anyway, thinking of death, which is a rather unusual subject, I was looking at it from a different perspective. A perspective far from the loss of life and weeping or wailing. I was looking at it from the point of view of our attributes and qualities that we have "killed" or have died in our lives for reasons best known to us alone. With the passage of time, things like morality, productive habits and what have you, have all died or in the process of being taken to the gallows. Some things that we used to do that gained great recommendation from others have all died due to one reason or the other. Some of these attributes that we so cherished died as a result of hasty generalization, that is, the fact that since one person treated you in an unfair way, you end up concluding that anyone who possesses the same qualities as your "villain" would probably treat you the same way ( you get that a lot from women). Time has passed and made our conscience dead to certain things that would have been given a severe drubbing in time past. Death sounds really spooky when spoken about openly so please forgive me. Sometimes we worry too much over things that have died and need not be resurrected. It is high time we accepted the death of certain things  and situations in our lives and move on to make better the things we still have living with us. Fact is, it is sometimes no use crying or worrying about what you once had and lost. Sometimes it is good to accept the fact that your yesterday is dead and gone and you along with it. Whatever you did, had, lost, did not do,reacted to too quickly is dead and gone. Give yourself a break and stop killing yourself over it. Just like the death of a human, we all wail over the loss but with time, we learn to leave without that person regardless of the relation we had. Same thing applies to the things that die in our lives and just like Marcus Aurelius put it "Death is a release from the impressions of the senses, and from desires that make us their puppets, and from the vagaries of the mind, and from the hard service of the flesh". Sometimes when something dies in your life, it is meant to die and stay dead because sometimes it is only after its death would you find "life". Bury it and move along. Let us therefore stop reliving certain dead moments, feelings and opportunities and make the best of the chances that are "living". That being said, if you used to engage in an activity that benefited you and others greatly, try and "resurrect" such deeds because you may not know who you are motivating. Going forward, always bear in mind that "Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names".  My name is Edwin Oko Lamptey and this is a "dead" R.A.T (RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHT) More at

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