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Coronavirus: Why Ghana has gone into mourning after mass funeral ban

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Coronavirus: Why Ghana has gone into mourning after mass funeral ban

2020-03-26 00:15:43

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Funerals in Ghana are well-known to be elaborate affairs with specifically designed coffins

In our sequence of letters from African writers, journalist and former Ghana authorities minister Elizabeth Ohene writes concerning the dramatic influence coronavirus is having on life in her nation and past.

If anybody had any doubt about simply how critical the Covid-19 outbreak is, we now have proof constructive, we’re within the midst of an enormous disaster.

This can be a disaster not measured but by how many individuals have been taken unwell, or are in hospital or have died.

Right here in Ghana, there are some issues which might be sacred in our lives and no one touches them below any circumstance: faith, handshakes and funerals.

These are topics that aren’t up for dialogue and many individuals consider they outline our very existence.

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Many peoples’ lives revolve round faith and the common prayer classes

For weeks, authorities and well being officers right here have been warning everyone to enhance private hygiene and keep away from crowds.

Many individuals most well-liked to assume that the coronavirus wouldn’t make it into sub-Saharan Africa and subsequently they believed the warnings by the well being consultants might be ignored.

‘Solely enemies refuse to shake fingers’

Whoever heard of a Ghanaian, certainly, an African greeting one other particular person and never shaking fingers?

To refuse or ignore to shake fingers with somebody implies that particular person is an enemy. Now we won’t shake fingers with anyone, good friend or foe.

President Nana Akufo-Addo set the tone for the brand new guidelines on the celebrations of Ghana’s 63rd independence anniversary on 6 March, when he ostentatiously saved each his fingers resolutely behind his again when he arrived on the ceremony to greet these seated on the dais.

And as if the prohibition on handshaking was not traumatic sufficient, a ban has been placed on the holding of funerals. The official announcement says there may be personal burials, however no mass gatherings of mourners.

BBC

There isn’t a such factor as a personal burial in our pondering and funerals are big, dramatic and common ceremonies”

I’m not positive I can convey the enormity of this on the Ghanaian psyche.

There isn’t a such factor as a personal burial in our pondering and funerals are big, dramatic and common ceremonies.

Our lives revolve round funerals.

The catering business depends on funerals to outlive, the textile business wants orders for funeral cloths to remain in enterprise, the tailors and dressmakers are busy largely as a result of they make garments for funerals; choral teams, occasions organisers, transportation and producers and sellers of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks would disappear with out funerals.

However there might be no extra funerals.

Come to consider it, what with the hand shaking ban, it is most likely simply as nicely {that a} ban has been positioned on funerals.

We won’t have funerals and never shake fingers, the whole funeral ceremony consists of shaking fingers, shaking fingers and shaking fingers.

The ban on spiritual gatherings right here, and in some nations elsewhere on the continent, is having a huge impact on folks for whom communal prayer and the self-discipline of the spiritual calendar are central to their lives.

However there’s silence within the mosques and within the church buildings right here in Ghana.

When the announcement was first made by the president, the Christian leaders had been surprised and the charismatic church buildings particularly had been in whole disbelief.

Miracle prayers

It was unthinkable that something or anyone may shut church providers. The all-night providers, the miracle providers, the anointing providers have taken over all our lives.

Some had hoped that the promise of miracle prayers to avoid wasting Ghana from the scourge of coronavirus would persuade the president to maintain the church buildings and mosques open, however he was not moved to alter his thoughts.

And they’ll keep closed all through Easter, essentially the most sacred pageant on the Christian calendar.

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For some it’s arduous to think about life with out spiritual providers

The order to shut the church buildings is popping out to be essentially the most troublesome one for folks to obey.

The mainstream church buildings are complying and lots of are providing on-line providers, which embrace provisions for offertory to be made by way of cellular cash donations.

However among the charismatic church buildings appear to assume they’re allowed to flout the order to not maintain church providers by claiming they’re providing particular prayers in opposition to Covid-19.

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Going to church a number of occasions per week is regular for many individuals and the information is normally stuffed with the antics of among the so-called males of God.

The president requested the nation to quick and pray on Wednesday this week and probably, some folks would have had issue accepting that they may quick and pray by themselves at dwelling with out going to church.

From right here, we keenly comply with all of the information about how the remainder of the continent is doing with the function of faith within the march of the lethal coronavirus.

President John Magufuli

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Coronavirus is a satan, it can’t reside within the physique of Christ, it would burn immediately. This can be a time to construct our religion”

I’ve little doubt that the strategy of Tanzanian President John Magufuli can be cited by some folks right here as value following.

He has banned public gatherings and closed faculties as we’ve, however he stated he didn’t ban church or mosque worship as a result of these had been locations the place “true therapeutic” passed off.

“Coronavirus is a satan, it can’t reside within the physique of Christ, it would burn immediately. This can be a time to construct our religion,” President Magufuli, who has a PhD in chemistry and is a religious Catholic, stated at a church service final Sunday.

President Akufo-Addo has urged us to hunt the face of God and pray for Ghana however he’s sticking to the science and emphasising the washing of fingers, social distancing and the church buildings and mosques stay closed.

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The Zion Christian Church’s Easter gathering usually attracts lots of of hundreds of worshippers

It’s now getting by way of to many individuals that we’re in lethal uncharted territory when the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), most likely the largest church in southern Africa, introduced it had postponed all gatherings together with their Easter service.

This service usually attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, who congregate on the foothills of the Moria Mountain in Limpopo throughout the Easter weekend, and there certainly can’t be a extra dramatic spectacle.

By no means, within the historical past of the ZCC, since its inception in 1910, has the church postponed or cancelled its pilgrimage.

We won’t shake fingers, we won’t have funerals, we won’t go to worship on the mosque or the church, the ZCC has postponed its Easter pilgrimage; we’re within the midst of an emergency alright.

Extra Letters from Africa

Observe us on Twitter @BBCAfrica, on Fb at BBC Africa or on Instagram at bbcafrica



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