HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsSaturday dialogue: Death does not send an invitation letter

Saturday dialogue: Death does not send an invitation letter


I was watching the video of my mother’s funeral and burial in Buhera the other day and I was so traumatised when I realised the number of people that had died since November 2006 when she passed away.

Wedding videos tell the same story too. As years go by, you will notice the number of people that were alive during those events that are no more.

A friend who lives in England, Katija Abdul Hunda, said to me on one of my visits to her house in London that she no longer played her wedding video because there were too many people that had since died.

She counted at least 30 dead people as I watched who had once upon a time been so lively and full of life.
They were gone.

Death is an eventuality that all human beings will certainly succumb to, but it is how we die that bothers most people. It is a natural phenomenon that everyone has to face one day.

We are all accustomed to death after long illnesses because we somehow prepare our minds for the worst. But we still resist against the final strike of the clock that stops life.

When we were all born, there was so much excitement about the new arrival as relatives and friends suggested names for the bundle of joy.

It is such a happy occasion that we all cherish. But that child will grow old and finally bid farewell to the land of the living, leaving loved ones in deep sorrow.

We never really think about death when a child is born.

All we do is register them for some insurance plan, send them to school and then university.

Some even buy residential property for these children before they have attained maturity.

But the thought of a death certificate coming their way never crosses the mind.

Human beings naturally love to cling to life and hence develop a strong attachment to earthly acquired goods.

But when death knocks at our doors, no person is prepared to face it.

Mankind will answer to Dr Death’s door, regardless of their social standing sooner or later. Death does not send an invitation letter . . . it sneaks into your life when you are least prepared.

The death of Retired General Solomon Mujuru is one example of a man who lived his life to the fullest, but succumbed to his fate in a raging fire at his farmhouse in Beatrice on August 16.

A fine gentleman and soldier, Mujuru was also a known peacemaker, kingmaker and a friend of people from all classes.

So down- to-earth was he that he was able to move around without bodyguards. But he died at his heavily guarded and secure home at Alamein Farm.

He felt safe in a free Zimbabwe and no one expected him to die under such tragic circumstances.

He was husband to an illustrious war veteran, Vice-President Joice Mujuru, a woman he met during the war of liberation in Mozambique.

It was heartbreaking to see her and her four daughters at their darkest moment.

The outpouring of grief that was exhibited during the period of mourning only showed us that we are never prepared for death.

It is not often that we are brave enough to come face to face with the thought of our own death.

Venerable Dhammananda in his book Is Death Really Frightening?, quotes a veteran nurse who once said: “It has always seemed to me a major tragedy that so many people go through life haunted by the fear of death — only to find when it comes that it’s as natural as life itself.

“For a few, are afraid to die when they get to the very end. In my entire experience only one seemed to feel any terror a woman who had done her sister a wicked thing which it was too late to put right.

“Something strange and beautiful happens to men and women when they come to the end of the road. A fear, all horror disappears. I have often watched a look of happy wonder dawn in their eyes when they realise this is true. It is all part of the goodness of nature.”

But can that be said of Mujuru who probably died in anguish, perhaps screaming for help? What did he say when he breathed his last?

A couple of years ago, a couple saw their three children die as their car, which had been involved in a crash along the Chitungwiza highway, went up in flames.

The couple heard their children scream for help as fire consumed their tender bodies until there was silence. Death had robbed them of their only children. Who can comprehend with this kind of a situation?

“Death is universal and it spares no one. Life is uncertain, but death is certain,” Dhammananda says.


Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading