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Zubaida Ismail
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IMPACT: COVID-19, THE BROKEN TIES as DEAD FUNERALS TAKE OVER GHANA.

Kumasi, Ghana Cultural May 16 @ 11:42pm

Funerals are sacred among all the major ethnic groups in Ghana with some level of reverence accosted to the dead. Most families after observing a “compulsory one week celebration” of a deceased usually schedule the final funeral rites for at least one month to allow adequate preparation for the funeral.

In Ghana, funerals are rare opportunities not just to to bid farewell, show respect, and exhibit a family’s wealth but it is one of the events that reunite the family. It is the only event that even the enemy of the deceased will overlook the past and make amends as all the ethnic groups in Ghana have an adage "that one do not have to fight the dead".

Funeral celebrations have taken an upgrade twist in all walks of the Ghanaian society except for the Muslim society where it is observed solemnly.

Simple burials with simple and low cost caskets is almost in extinct while fewer well-wishers, and less food and beverages have been swapped with more extravagant funerals where professional Funeral Homes are contracted to organize recent funerals at very outrageous costs.

Professional Mourners and Pallbearers have become embodiments of funerals in Ghana as the country travels on the journey of the changing faces of funerals.

The President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on March 5 invoked a Restriction Imposition Order under an Executive Instrument, (E.I) 64, (2), AND (3) forbidding families from holding any form of outdoor event such as parties and weddings as measures intensified to flatten the curve of Covid-19 cases in the country.

The Act however allows for private funerals of not more than twenty five people. Any funeral beyond twenty five persons is an upright disregard of the order.

The president during his second address to the nation on government’s response on Covid-19 instructed bereaved families to hold private burials.

While a handful have adhered to the directives, many have postponed burials until further notice. For those who have decided to bury their dead, they have had to do so without the usual loud celebrations of culture and not even the royals are spared in this new normal.

No large funerals mean no huge revenues and sometimes, no revenue at all for both the bereaved families, funeral homes, professional mourners, and any individual whose livelihood depends on funerals.

For an online and radio publication, this report will tell the stories behind the norms, beliefs, financial muscles, and the broken ties as families stay apart even during the most important events that have for decades been the strength of reunions.
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