Funerals from around the world — South Africa

Charles Cowling

 

 

Francis Rasuge, a police officer, was killed by her lover in 2004. Her body was not found until earlier this year, buried in the yard of her lover’s house. 

 

Francis Nyadi Rasuge was finally laid to rest yesterday afternoon at the Horingnestkrans Cemetery in Pretoria North.

There was a touch of sad bitterness at the service in Temba Stadium with speaker after speaker telling the weepy human interest story of this dark and mysterious case.

A white casket draped in the South African flag, manned by men in blue and a policewoman’s hard cap laid on it, was a telling testament that the physical or rather the bones, has finally gotten its dues. The mysterious interferences, others spiritual and man-made, rumours and conspiracies that added to the public’s opinion ladder, were yesterday committed to earth together with Rasuge’s bones.

Ralph Jones, who introduced himself as the cousin of Rasuge at the service, said he was disturbed by the fact that the crime scene where Rasuge’s bones were exhumed has not been cordoned off.

“That yard is a graveyard . that yard is a tombstone. As a family we believe that the crime scene should have been cordoned off because we assume that it is a crime scene.”

He added: “If you were in our shoes you would understand the pain we are feeling today. The pain is unbearable. The pain is unexplained to the family and the mother.

“There were people who knew that Rasuge was being abused and they kept quiet. This is disturbing.”

The mood was both celebratory and sombre, with the SAPS Gauteng Band and Drill Platoon adding the sorrowful tone to the funeral service.

Solly Moholo was also there singing the famous struggle song Solomon. Though not sure about the connection of this song to the funeral, mourners were happy to turn the service into a rally.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, hard-bitten by the inspiration of words, quoted Pablo Neruda’s Autumn Testament, which start with “A day dressed in mourning falls from the bells”, went on to bless the mourners with the words of faith from Thomas Edison and then the bible – quoting from Isaiah 41:10 to Romans 4:17.

The service soon turned into political speeches with minister of water and environmental affairs Edna Molewa extolling the work of the ANC Women’s League, and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa complimenting his charges on a job well done.

Rasuge was no Brenda Fassie or Whitney Houston, but she was accorded a funeral fit for a superstar or a martyr.

 

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