I recently attended my first funeral since the Covid-19 pandemic started here in South Africa in March 2020.
My dear friend, Alen “The Singing Carguard” Abrahams, had to bid farewell to his beloved mother, aunty Dina, who sadly lost her fight against Covid after she was admitted to hospital for a stroke.
Doctors say she contracted the virus at the hospital.
This meant that Alen’s mom had to be buried according to the government's Covid regulations.
I did not fully grasp just how cold one of these funerals can be until today.
We arrived at the church and found Alen standing outside.
At first I thought he was waiting for my wife and I to arrive because we ran a bit late.
But he said that he won’t be going into the church and that he is standing outside with his mother whose casket was not allowed to go inside.
There was Law Enforcement in place to make sure that all the rules were followed properly.
A hartseer Alen said: “Vir 67 jaar het my ma na die kerk toe gekom, sy het haar tiendes gegooi sodat hulle nog kerke sou kon bou, maar vandag kan sy nie in die kerk [gaan] nie.
“Die mense sit almal ver agter innie kerk in en die pastoor staan hoeg op ‘n stage.
“Wil jy vir my sê my ma se kis kannie daar voor staanie? My broe, hoe is die dignified?”
What was bothering Alen even more was that they were not allowed to view the body for one last time to say their last goodbyes.
He said: “Hulle kan at least die kis oopmaak innie kar dat ons om dit kan loep, daar is mos vensters om deur te loer in die hearse, plus hoe wiet ek dai is my ma in dai kis?”
When I see things like this, I wonder if our government is truly taking our people’s dignity into consideration with all their rules and regulations.
It’s painful to not know if you’re actually placing your relative into the ground or not, especially with the type of confusion that has already taken place.
We need to be more caring towards people’s feelings and emotions during one of the saddest moments in their lives.
It’s an emotional time and all we want is certainty and dignity.
Who are the people who make these laws and assume that it’s the best for us?
Your laws are creating holes in people’s hearts and a space that can never be filled because we will never be able to go back and relive these moments.
Alen was also told by the pastor that if his mom had a glass top casket then she could have come inside the church but they are doing funerals like this now.
This led Alen to ask: “Dink jy die president sal sy ma soe laat begrawe?”
No, you would not, Mr President.
We are spending so much money on a vaccine and paying grants to people who loot and then also refunding businesses who were broken down by these skelms but we can’t see to it that our people get a decent burial, inside a church or mosque, by providing them with glass top caskets.
For many, the last time we see our relatives when they die of Covid is when we take them to hospital, and that was the case with Alen as well.
Let us relook these Covid rules and try to restore the dignity of our people.
We are not at the beginning stages of this pandemic anymore, things like this should not happen.
Alen’s sister Shameemah says: “My ma was ‘n straight persoon with no hidden agendas.
“Sy was baie lief vir al haar kinnes en ons gaan haar baie mis.”
When Alen shot to fame for his hit song Kerrie.
Many media outlets claimed that they discovered him, placed him on their front pages and interviewed him on radio but now is the time for the media to reach out to this brilliant artist.
The pandemic destroyed many artists and Alen is one of them, so send your condolences and as julle kan, gie a slaawat.
Let us be there for each other in trying times.