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Distance no impediment for funerals: Death as a uniting ritual for African people – A pastoral study

Magezi E. Baloyi

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 35, No 1 (2014), 7 pages. doi: 10.4102/ve.v35i1.1248

Submitted: 30 August 2013
Published:  09 July 2014


An African funeral is a very social event for the entire community in which the deceased lived.Regardless of whether the deceased was a Christian or not, death has always been a reunion forlong-separated relatives, believers and non-believers. Nowadays, tents, cars and the gatheringof multitudes of people demonstrate how death can bring people together, irrespective ofdistance and relationships. Of course, this is not to deny the fact that death can be a cause ofdivision between relatives and friends. Nonetheless, the funeral itself is also a uniting factor;many people come together, regardless of distance, to pay their last tributes to the deceasedand to provide the bereaved family with emotional support. In this article, I argue that death,amongst other things, is a uniting factor that is able to bring people, who are separated bydistance and other factors, together. The aim of this article is to discuss how death invitespeople into a family, regardless of bad blood, flawed relationships and separation.

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Author affiliations

Magezi E. Baloyi, Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, University of South Africa, South Africa



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