Wednesday, October 19, 2005

At peace and at rest

The preperations for Boipelo's funeral went on for about a week. I went to her home on two occasions. Both times I carried as much as the vehicle would carry. At Boipelo's house Betty and the other girls from the Salon mucked in and prepared the yard so that it was ready to host the crowds who were to attend the burial. Audrey and Betty also had another task to carry out and it was one that I didn't envy them. They went to the undertakers and helped prepare Boipelo's body for 'body-viewing.' Their job was to make sure that Boipelo looked her best in her coffin. They did this by styling her hair and applying her make up. I have to say that they did an incredible job. When I viewed Boipelo in her coffin she looked like an innocent child sleeping. I guess that was indeed what she was – asleep and at rest.
I vividly remember that after the body viewing a guy I knew quite well (Sonny, a South African guy, who had travelled more than 1000km's to pay his respects and to offer the funeral party the use of his 'combie' for transport to and from the cemetry) commented that she looked so 'healthy' in her coffin. He was right as well. Boipelo looked immacualte. Her beauty not tarnished even though she had breathed her last breath in this world.
The most striking thing about Sonny's comment was that Sonny himself was HIV positive (he had confided in Betty and Audrey). I remember thinking that he off all people must have suspected that Boipelo had died of an AIDS related illness but his comment suggested otherwise. On reflection I'm sure that most people at the funeral knew exactly what had taken the life of this beautiful twenty one year old but all were content in the conspiracy of silence that haunts HIV/AIDS affected Africa.

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