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Verbum et Ecclesia

versão On-line ISSN 1609-9982

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BALOYI, Magezi E.. Distance no impediment for funerals: Death as a uniting ritual for African people - A pastoral study. Verbum Eccles. (Online) [online]. 2014, vol.35, n.1, pp. 1-7. ISSN 1609-9982.

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 for long-separated relatives, believers and non-believers. Nowadays, tents, cars and the gathering of multitudes of people demonstrate how death can bring people together, irrespective of distance and relationships. Of course, this is not to deny the fact that death can be a cause of division 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 deceased and 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 by distance and other factors, together. The aim of this article is to discuss how death invites people into a family, regardless of bad blood, flawed relationships and separation.

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