Research Paper: Grief Process for Africans

Pages: 7 (2204 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Family and Marriage  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] In the normal running of the society, a person should grow up, raise a family, and help the society in all desirable ways before dying. Gehman (2005) explains that, unless it occurs at old age, death is not explainable by natural means alone in the African setup.

A life cut short is an interruption in the regular running of events. The society perceives this as a sign from the ancestors or a punishment for misconduct by the family or the surrounding community. As part of a burial ritual in the Tutsi community, people take meals after the burial of the dead person and may undergo cleansing. Cleansing can take the form of washing off the dust from the graveyards with the implication of removing bad luck. The Tutsi burial rituals involve throwing of some soil and flower petals in the grave of the deceased before the burial is complete. The Tutsi community's traditions specify the deceased burial. According to Hinton & Good (2009), the deceased burial takes place on the same day of death. This is preferably when the body is still warm.

Postponement of burial beyond the onset of swelling is an abomination. If swelling takes place and results in bursting, the community perceives this to be negligent and great humiliation to the deceased. There is a belief that the deceased may come back and harm the negligent relatives and community members. An elaborate traditional burial procedure avoids the coming back of the deceased and causes harm to the living. This procedure entails the placement of the deceased body in the grave and the objects that represent gentleness such as wool from sheep that must go with it. According to Hinton and Good (2009), the objects have the power to pacify the deceased spirit; to render the deceased spirit powerless to come and harm the living. These objects and rituals aim at preventing the harm that the deceased can cause if not pleased. The objects and rituals also help to invoke the spirits to offer support, care and promote prosperity to the families and community left behind.

After the burial and before the end of the funeral, the rituals require a declaration of the heir of the deceased property. The family members of the deceased split the properties according to the community's traditions. The graveyard is a holy place and selected community members regularly visit to communicate with the ancestors. The graveyards are also places where particular rituals that please the ancestors take place. In case of misconduct in the community or a family, elders use the graveyards to invoke the spirits and ask for forgiveness.

Conclusion

African cultures have a unique set of beliefs about death. The Tutsi being part of the larger African culture embraces many cultural norms that express their perception towards death. The Tutsi do not accept death any stage of life. Although at old age death is understandable, the society still questions its occurrence and believe there is some power behind it. The society strongly believes in life after death and acknowledges the importance of proper funeral for the deceased member of the community. This is due to the belief that the dead are more powerful and can cause harm to the living. Although the society believes there is life after death, there is still fear of death. The society view death as a way of transforming and joining the spirits' world. In the spirit world, a person can have a deeper understanding of both the visible and invisible worlds. The Tutsi traditions specify how burials should take place and the placement of the deceased body in the grave. In conclusion, the Tutsi tribe has a proper organization in matters relating to death. The traditional organization explains how they handle their deceased members of the society. Their view about death and beliefs in afterlife define their religion and cultural aspects.

References

Twagilimana, A. (1998). Hutu and Tutsi. New York: Rosen Pub. Group.

Asuquo, O.O. (2011). A Rationalization of an African Concept of Life, Death and the Hereafter.

American journal of social and management sciences, 2(1), 171-175.

Gehman, R.J. (2005). African Traditional Religion in Biblical Perspective. Nairobi: Autolitho

Limited.

Lugira, A.M. (2009). African Traditional Religion. New… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Grief Process for Africans.  (2013, August 27).  Retrieved April 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/grief-process-africans/6189762

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"Grief Process for Africans."  Essaytown.com.  August 27, 2013.  Accessed April 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/grief-process-africans/6189762.