Mozambique Traditions of Mourning

by L-Johnson

Alhough most Makua are animists, the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, there are some Christians among the Makua people as evidenced by this little Catholic Church located in Gurue, Mozambique.

For the Makua people of Mozambique, when somebody dies, it is the saddest time for not just the family but the entire community. They believe that God never created us just to kill us in the end but that death is an unnatural event caused by bad spirits. There is no death that is not connected with witchcraft or evil spirits. Upon someone’s death, a Mwene (chief) is informed. They will go to where the person has died, and command instant silence from the wailing women (Men aren’t allowed to drop a tear!). Everybody now listens to the Mwene’s official statement on burial arrangements. The third day after burial is a day of intense mourning. The friends and relatives of the deceased must shave their hair and dress in black. Joyful activities are banned. The place is normally filled with friends, family, and well-wishers. To show profound sorrow and solidarity, anyone in the community will do something to comfort the mourning family such as offering food, firewood, or water, or performing errands. Food must be prepared and served to the people who have come to pay their respects. The Mwene stands to speak after all the guests have had their meal, and comforts the bereaved and thanking them for the love and co-operation displayed during this hard time.

Read more:

http://gitoester.blogspot.com/2009/06/life-in-makua-community.html

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