Restrictions on Funeral Gatherings during COVID-19 A Religious/Spiritual Perspective among the Zimbabwean Community Living in South Africa

Main Article Content

Phillip Musoni https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4734-5407

Keywords

COVID-19, hard lockdown, funeral rites, religio-spiritual world-view, prolonged grief, spiritual distress, Zimbabwean immigrants, pandemic

Abstract

This essay endeavors to understand the impact of COVID-19 hard lockdown restrictions on funeral gatherings from a Zimbabwean religious/spiritual per-spective. For most Zimbabwean Christians and non-Christians, funeral rites of passage are at the apex of all religious activities and are revered in most social settings. The central questions to this study are: How have funeral gathering restrictions impacted on the religious/spiritual beliefs of many Zim-babwean immigrants living in South Africa, who were not able to attend fu-neral ceremonies back home in Zimbabwe? What religious/spiritual implica-tions does it have to attend or not attend funeral ceremonies from a Zimbab-wean religious perspective? These questions are raised because during the pandemic, most Zimbabweans who lived in South Africa were forbidden to go home to attend funeral ceremonies due to travelling restrictions between the two countries. This study found that most Zimbabwean immigrants who did not participate in funeral rites of passage due to COVID restrictions were left with spiritual distress after the pandemic. Data for this article were col-lected through interviews with individuals from Zimbabwe who are living in South Africa. Interviewees were selected using purposive sampling. Confi-dentiality, anonymity, and suppression of names are some of the ethical con-siderations maintained throughout this research.

Abstract 29 | PDF Downloads 37

References

Baloyi, M. E. (2014) ‘Distance no impediment for funerals: Death as a unitng ritual for African people - A pastoral study’, Verbum et Ecclesia, 35(1), pp. 1–7. doi: 10.4102/ve.v35i1.1248.
Banana, C. (1991) Come and Share: An Introduction to Christian Theology. Gweru: Mambo Press.
Bujo, B. (1992) Bujo, Benezet 1992 African Theology in its Social Context. New York: Orbis Books.
Chirisa, I., Mavhima, B., Nyevera, T., Chigudu, A., Makochekanwa, A., Matai, J., Masunda, T., Chandaengerwa, E. K., Machingura, F., Moyo, S., Chirisa, H., Mhloyi, M., Murwira, A., Mhandara, L. and Katsande, R. (2021) ‘The impact and implications of COVID-19: Reflections on the Zimbabwean society.’, Social Sciences & Humanities Open journal, 4(1).
Chirisa, I., Mavhima, B., Nyevera, T., Chigudu, A., Makochekanwa, A., Matai, J., Masunda, T., Chandaengerwa, E. K., Machingura, F., Moyo, S., Chirisa, H., Mhloyi, M., Murwira, A., Mhandara, L., Katsande, R., et al. (2021) ‘The impact and implications of COVID-19: Reflections on the Zimbabwean society’, Social Sciences & Humanities Open, 4(1), p. 100183. doi: 10.1016/j.ssaho.2021.100183.
Dube, N., Nkomo, T. S. and Khosa, P. (2017) ‘Condom Usage Negotiation Among Customarily Married Women in Katlehong , Johannesburg’, SAGE, 1(7). doi: 10.1177/2158244016687345.
Dube, V. (2020) ‘OVID-19:All burials to be done in 24hours’, Sunday Mail, 1 April. Available at: https://www.sundaynews.co.zw/covid-19-all-burials-to-be-done-in-24-hours/.
Ekore, R. I. and Lanre-Abass, B. (2016) ‘African cultural concept of death and the idea of advance care directives’, Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 22(4), pp. 369–372. doi: 10.4103/0973-1075.191741.
Haider, N. et al. (2020) ‘Lockdown measures in response to COVID-19 in nine sub-Saharan African countries’, BMJ Global Health, 5(10), pp. 1–10. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2020-003319.
Huffman, T. N. (2014) ‘Ritual space in the Zimbabwe culture’, Ethnoarchaeology, 6(1), pp. 4–39. doi: 10.1179/1944289013Z.0000000008.
Kgatle, M. S. and Segalo, P. (2021) ‘Grieving during a pandemic: A psycho-theological response’, Verbum et Ecclesia, 42(1), pp. 1–6. doi: 10.4102/ve.v42i1.2260.
Kuhfeld, M. et al. (2020) ‘Projecting the Potential Impact of COVID-19 School Closures on Academic Achievement’, Educational Researcher, 49(8), pp. 549–565. doi: 10.3102/0013189X20965918.
Lauterbach, K. and Vahakangas, M. (2020) Faith in African Lived Christianity: Bridging Anthropological and Theological Perspectives, Brill. Edited by K. Lauterbach and M. Vahakangas. Leiden: Brill. doi: 10.5860/choice.49-2007.
Maisani, M. et al. (2017) ‘Please wait...’, Materials Science and Engineering C, 46(1), p. 1. doi: 10.1016/S2255-4971(15)30260-3.
Mbiti, J. (1975) African Religions & Philosophy. London: Heinemann.
Moonasar, D. et al. (2021) ‘COVID-19: Lessons and experiences from South Africa’s first surge’, BMJ Global Health, 6(2), pp. 1–5. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2020-004393.
Moyo, J. (2013) The interface of verbal and nonverbal communication at Shona funeral milieu : Sociolinguistic implications ., International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention ISSN (Online). Available at: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntt=MATHEW++ENGELKE&N=0&Ntk=keywords&action=Search&Ne=0&event=ESRCG&nav_search=1&cms=1 (Accessed: 12 May 2014).
Nolte-schamm, C. M. (2006) ‘A comparison between Christian and African traditional paradigms of reconciliation and how they could dialogue for the benefit of South African society’, (February), pp. 1–373.
Nwadiokwu, C. N. et al. (2016) ‘Rites of Passage African Traditional Region’, International Journal of Education and Research, 4(9), pp. 41–50. Available at: www.ijern.com.
Okikiolaolu, R. and Ositelu, O. (2002) African Instituted Churches:Diversities, growth, gifts, spirituality and Ecumenical understanding of African Initiated Churches. london: Transaction Publishers.
Omonisi, A. (2020) ‘How covid-19 pandemic is changing the africa’s elaborate burial rites, mourning and grieving’, Pan African Medical Journal, 35(Supp 2), pp. 1–4. doi: 10.11604/pamj.supp.2020.35.23756.
Orobator, A. E. (2008) Theology Brewed in an African Pot. Mary knoll NY: Orbis Books.
Suganda, R., Sutrisno, E. and Wardana, I. W. (2013) AFRICAN SPIRITUALITY 5.1, online publication. Available at: http://uir.unisa.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10500/1164/10chapter5.PDF (Accessed: 8 October 2020).