We bundled the corpse and wrapped it in a papyrus mat (lusamba) which we laid on a bicycle as the only means of transport. Issues of twins are complicated. When we reached Bumashebe, Wamono refused to continue with the journey. The bicycle suddenly stopped and we had to remove the corpse and cane it till it accepted to continue. The same thing happened when we had reached Bulukye and we caned it again. We reached home in the evening amidst wails, sobbing, mourning. The pain could be felt everywhere.
We believe that the dead are not actually dead. It is why we had to cane Wamono yesterday when he became stubborn and stopped the bicycle from moving. Being that Wamono was not circumcised, we called umushebi (traditional surgeon) to circumcise him before we could burry tomorrow. As a rule we never burry uncirmuscised men. If one dies before circumcision, we still do it. Otherwise, he may rise through a living relative to demand for the ritual. There is a story of a man whose foreskin grew back after burying his uncirmuscised son.
Twins are burried either before sunrise or after sunset. Since Wamono had stayed so long, he was burried early morning before sunrise. During burial the parents and Mukhwana are not allowed to throw soil over the corpse as it is with other burials. In fact they don’t reach the graveside. By 6am, Wamono had been laid to rest. We realize there are those people who only attend funerals to eat. Some women were quarreling over porridge as we we were putting Wamono to rest.
As a rule all Wamono’s siblings had to shave their hair apart from Mukhwana.
A Sombre mood lingers over the village,tensions are gearing up and talk is making rounds that Wanda could be behind the death of Wamono. Why did he stop his son from joining us?
When a woman loses a twin, they are not supposed to greet other parents who have twins (Waganda call them *Salongo* and *Nalongo* ). In fact in the past, the woman would be sent away from home for sometime but culture is being eroded with civilisation. A mother who loses a twin should not cry when the other twin is still alive.
What begun as a rumor is now being discussed on the vigil and loudly. The family of Wanda are said to be behind the death of Wamono. In the night of “Ulumbe” and after several rounds of malwa some people even threatened to burn down Wanda’s house. A young person can’t die suddenly like that; it must be a spell cast upon him from the envious brother of his father. Sooner or later it will be known when Mwalye goes to Bunyole. If it is true Wanda had a hand in Wamono’s death lightning may strike his household or his children may all become barren.
Mwalye headed to Bunyole to conjure the gods on Wamono’s death. All powerful traditional doctors hail from Bunyole. It is said that one doctor made a man who used to elope with another man’s wife lame to this day. That his manhood got stuck into the woman till a sacrifice was made to the gods. But since then the man’s spear has failed to stand straight and so it can’t prick. We await from Bunyole.
Till then, we shall keep you posted!
Denis Wabuyi – Mbale, Uganda
The writer is an accountant, researcher and writer