Death brings to light true characteristics – it is the survival of the fittest and, in many cases, court processes that dig at the emotions!
If there is anything I am slowly learning, it is that the ties that bind families are of a financial nature.
We are held together by the rands and cents of the ones that provide for us. Following their deaths, the seams come apart and family members turn on each other.
The unspoken hatred of years before seeps out for all and sundry to see – and what we knew to be picture-perfect families are reduced to ones in bitter battles for a share of the spoils of the departed.
There is a Sotho hymn, loosely thrown around when the riches of estates come into play – Lefu la hao la mphedisa (your death has given me sustenance).
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In township streets, it speaks of people suddenly striking it rich when estates are disbursed and family homes are at stake.
The death of the Zulu royals has been a stark reminder of the turmoil that outlives our natural lives – that when we are laid to rest those that claim to mourn us begin to scrap over what we leave behind.
A will is a dying wish. That which I wish for, may not be fair to the one that I leave behind.
Imagine my child at war as an heir to his mother’s estate.
The thought leaves me cold. But this is the everyday reality, not only townships but even in the most affluent of suburbs and cosiest of homes.
Over the years, we are repeatedly reminded of the importance of being self-sufficient.
We are reminded of the importance of wills and trusts for our elected beneficiaries yet, as a society, we take lightly the importance of such.
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We consider that our wishes will supersede the greed. We want to believe that our memory is enough to implore the ones we leave behind to do right by our wishes.
But death brings to light true characteristics – it is the survival of the fittest and, in many cases, court processes that dig at the emotions!
We see it as the Zulu nation is split down the middle.
We do not register that this may happen in our homes, within our families. The bottom line is: death is the tool which unmasks who people really are to us.