Sunday, 22 April 2012


            The last week the nation has been in mourning. There were three days of national mourning for former vice president George Kunda, MHSRIP. Following his death people began to speak in high praise of him. He was eulogised on radio and on television, in the papers and on Facebook. It was almost unanimous that everyone had nothing but good words to say about him. This was a different change of heart from a couple of months ago when it was almost difficult to find someone who had anything good to say about him. This turn of events seriously highlighted a deep seated issue in our society. Why do we wait for someone to go six feet under before we begin to praise and honour them?
            Sadly this is becoming a habit in our society which is not going to disappear for some time to come. I came to notice this with the demise of the third republican president Levy Patrick Mwanawasa. Before his untimely death there were many words in bad taste that were spoken about him. People made fun of his stuttering speech, infamously called him cabbage and others said he had no direction. When word got to Zambia that he had passed on, boom! Instantly everyone was saying that he was the best president Zambia had had, he had a vision for the country, they admired his fight against corruption or he was an incredible lawyer. Even though while he was alive almost every day the papers, radio and ordinary Zambian citizens criticised the things he did no matter how well intentioned they were. I am sure Levy Mwanawasa, Frederick Chiluba or George Kunda would have done anything to hear even half the praises they got upon their death while they were still alive.
            It could not be hard to question whether the words of praise uttered are genuine or it is a taboo to speak ill of a dead person. Maybe upon death we are to forget all wrong doings and reflect on the good the person did. We live in a society where we focus so much on a person’s flaws and shortcomings. Regardless of how genuine the effort one makes we seem to find a way to find fault in it. It is little wonder that bad news always travels faster because we choose to find pleasure in seeing someone’s downfall. Perhaps it makes us feel better about our lives and forget our problems even if it may be for a while. Therefore, people live their whole lives fighting negative criticism, being judged all the time and their past being flashed into their faces whenever they try to forget it. They go to the graves bitter, angry, with feeling of being unappreciated and failures. Then when they are dead you pretend like you never said the words or acted the way you did towards them. Honestly it is time we stop being hypocrites, I am not excluding myself from this equation. It is even better we just shut up. 
            Surely as long as you are a human being and not an alien from Mars, we all have our flaws and we do make mistakes. Even though you may think that your transgression is lesser than the next person it does not cover the fact that at some point in our lives we all need a second chance. Are saying words such as “Thank You”, “You are appreciated”, “You are an inspiration” or any form of graditude very bitter words to say? Or are they words that are simply not on our vocabulary and we have sworn not to say them as long as the person is alive. Clearly we do not seem to have a problem to say them when the person is dead. They so graciously roll off our tongues in beautifully constructed sentences that even the legendary Shakespeare would be proud of. Perhaps it is a pride issue that we cannot lower ourselves as to appreciate the good someone does no matter how small or grand. It could be that maybe if we say good stuff about them we will wash away our guilty conscience of all the terrible things we said.
            So while I will wait to be lavished with all the good nothings when I resign my place on this earth. I am tempted to imagine what my friends and family will say of me. Maybe they will say I was kind and generous, or I was welcoming and funny. A Facebook group remembering me will go up where those people who knew me will post comments of how they will miss me. Then people who do not comment on this blog will add their words at how they enjoy reading this blog and will miss it. Not that I am campaigning for you to comment now, though it would not be a bad idea.
            My point is that we will not have the people we have around us forever. We do not know when they will be taken away from us. We should not spend our time on earth finding fault in others and deliberately ignoring whatever good they do. It should not take someone to die before you tell them how you really feel or that they were appreciated while they were alive. It is almost pointless to speak when the person has taken their final breath. I should not have to wait till I die to be told.


  1. it is a sad reality that it easier to find fault in the acts of a good man. i however believe it is more of a taboo to speak ill of the dead and that it is not wrong to euologise and remember someone for the good they did

  2. I do agree we have settled to it being taboo. Nonetheless when the person was alive the good things are not spoken of so much. Therefore, when the person dies it is just best we keep quiet sometime.