Leave Vuyo alone!

2013-06-02 10:00

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Has it become cute to have no cultural values, asks a friend?

I cannot contain my shock and disgust at the negative weekend reports churned out about the late Vuyo Mbuli hardly 48 hours after his burial. As an African, my jaw dropped as I read the rubbish line for line.

I shudder to think how hurtful this must have been to his parents and siblings. My heart sank when I thought of his children reading the reports.

To say it was early days is an understatement. A week had hardly passed, bethunana!

Have we become so un-African and disrespectful as a people? Where are the elders who are supposed to give us “umkhombandlela” (a road map or direction)?

Yes, it was expected that at some stage Vuyo’s skeletons would crawl out of the closet because, like all of us, he was not a saint.

He made his fair share of mistakes, wronged a few people, fell short on discretion, and sometimes made ill-informed decisions both in his private and business life.

To err, after all, is human. We know he came to regret and sought pardon for his transgressions.

The rich African culture carries unwritten rules regulating our behaviour, all centred on time and timing. Contrary to popular belief, Africans value time and timing in their own orientation, of course.

As Africans, our grieving for the departed does not end at the grave. We observe a mourning period characterised by a number of rituals differing from family to family.

Some of these are “ukuyalwa”, where mourners are given dos and don’ts during this time and “ukuhlamba izitya”, which relates to cleaning up after the funeral.

Because as a grieving widow, you are left vulnerable by your husband’s death, “ukuzila” is supposed to protect you from all kinds of controversies that tend to spring up in the wake of your husband’s death.

It protects you from temptations that might present too early after your loss. You are assisted by your in-laws to face the hardships that come with being a single parent after you have enjoyed the support of your husband.

You modify your speech and do not do as you please. You are going into a new phase in your life.

It is this cultural orientation I have briefly alluded to that forms the backdrop for my shock and disgust at the widely publicised and degrading anti-Vuyo utterances by his widow a day after his burial.

This is not about liking or disliking the lady. It is about what I feel we are losing as a people. The newspaper itself should have been a bit more respectful by allowing Vuyo’s “bile to burst” and our tears to dry before creating a bashing session for him.

What happened to our African-ness? Have we become so Eurocentric? Do we hate ourselves so much as Africans that we despise the very culture that is supposed to shape our attitudes and behaviour? Has it become cute to have no cultural values?

»Titi is Vuyo Mbuli’s friend

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