Thursday, August 11, 2011

Transkei, the place to die, not!

When we lived in the former Republic of Transkei, (now part of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa), there were occasional stories of Dead people coming to Life. One time the coffin bearers were carrying the coffin of a deceased young lady to the Umtata Cemetery, when they dropped it and the women came back to life. (Sadly she died again a week later.) And in a land saturated with witchcraft and animism, this scared the daylights out of the living as you would expect.
I was reminded of this event upon reading a recent Newspaper article about an event in nearby Libode (approx. 30 Kms from Umtata, now spelled Mthatha.) Here is the report:
“By SAPA, 2011/07/25 'Dead' Man Wakes Up in Transkei Mortuary
A 50-year-old asthmatic man presumed dead by his family woke up inside the morgue of a private undertaker at Libode in the Transkei region on Sunday afternoon.
The man, whose name has been withheld, lost consciousness while asleep at his home in a nearby village on Saturday evening, said Eastern Cape health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo.
"His family thought he had died," Kupelo told Sapa."The family called a private undertaker who took what they thought was a dead body to the morgue, but the man woke up inside the morgue on Sunday at 5pm and screamed, demanding to be taken out of the cold place."
He had been there for nearly 24 hours.Kupelo said the two mortuary attendants who were on duty at the time ran out of the building thinking the screaming man was a ghost.They called for help, put on brave faces and went back to find that the man was indeed alive.
"We sent an ambulance to the funeral parlour to take the man to Saint Barnabas Hospital because he had been exposed to extreme cold for nearly 24 hours," Kupelo said.
He warned the public not to assume that a sick person had died and call a mortuary.
"Doctors, emergency workers and the police are the only people who have a right to examine the patients and determine if they are dead or not," said Kupelo.”
Now the above may sound funny to us at this distance, but to the people there, it would not have been funny at all. Especially for “the corpse”! Fortunately this story had a happy ending -this time!
But happy ending or not; Funny or sad, the real lesson here for us all to learn in every part of our lives, is to NEVER PRESUME ANYTHING!
Again never presume anything, but always have everything checked out by those who are experienced in that or those, particular matters.
In the above story, “The body” passed along through various people, but none of them were actually qualified to make the pronouncements that they did!
What about you and I? Are we always qualified to make the assumptions and pronouncements we make? Or should we be more careful in future and leave such assumptions and pronouncements to the experts? Over to you now for your comments.

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