COMMENT: Cremation — Bulawayo residents must accept change for the better

The Chronicle

IF getting a residential stand in Bulawayo is almost impossible, how can one expect to get burial space easily?
The living cannot get land to build homes and start their families. That’s the reality of our time and the fruit of our votes.
Bulawayo’s city fathers usually get things wrong, but the mandatory cremation of children who are 12 years and below is a harsh yet reasonable resolution. There is method to the madness.

Yes, more consultations need to be made, especially on the mandatory age group. However, residents must meet council halfway. There is a serious shortage of burial space in the city and we all know this.
As we reported yesterday, Bulawayo residents have continued to express concern over the proposal by Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to introduce mandatory cremation for children who are 12 years and below, arguing that this is against African cultural values.

Bulawayo City Council (BCC)

Our African cultural values are of uttermost importance, but we must also face the reality before us. Cremation is only the start — eventually homes will be built on top of old cemeteries as the population grows.
Such a move is likely to upset the dead and offend all of our ancestors, but in our culture, mediums are there to mediate between the living and the dead.

Cremation also eliminates the problem of disturbing the dead. We will no longer have to worry about the state of our grave-sites, building on top of them and indeed — in the spirit of our African cultural values —witchcraft.
Council has also raised a pertinent point that graves are being neglected at all the city’s cemeteries. Is neglecting graves part of upholding our African cultural values? Residents must not play the culture card only when it suits them.

During funerals mourners stand and walk on graves. In some areas residents have created pathways or are farming at graveyards. Illicit activities also take place at cemeteries — sex, illegal mining and armed robberies are familiar examples. What is African about that?
Council has also complained about the dumping of stillborn babies at Mpilo Central Hospital by con artists who claim to bury them. Already, there is no respect for culture, religion or the dead.

The move by council to lease land to a private contractor at Luveve Cemetery who will be offering low-cost crematorium services, is most welcome. Cremation must also be a cheaper option than burial. Caskets are already beyond the reach of many.
Said Ward 5 Clr Felix Mhaka: “Residents need this service especially for stillborn babies. Cremation was not fully appreciated in African culture. Engaging them would assist in changing the mindset and there is a need to come up with a timeframe for banning burials for those aged 12 years and below.”

Mpilo Central Hospital

Ward 17 Clr Sikhululekile Moyo said the cremation service is urgent as it will bring relief for families struggling to bury children.
The councillors speak a lot of sense. Now they have to involve residents in order to find the best way forward.
With a growing population that is ever getting younger, many things will continue to change. Residents must accept change for the better.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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