In Africa, the death of a loved one is not just an emotional moment for friends and family but also the opportunity to show one’s last respects in the form of a decent and memorable funeral rite. All through history, funeral rites in Africa have been an occasion for both the shedding of tears and the celebration of life, following the belief systems of reincarnation and the transformation of the deceased into an ancestor.
Such rites, be they in the shanty towns of Lesotho or the plush cities of Nigeria, are always steeped in traditions which identify mourners with their lineage and culture. These highly solemn moments deserve solemn attitudes. One is most likely to be sanctioned or even thrown out of the funeral grounds when there is a disconnect between the official attire and your own chosen outfit. To save yourself from such embarrassment, get yourself updated on the very things you should not wear on a funeral ground.
No casual wear
It is considered sheer disrespect to wear informal attire on a funeral ground. During this sacred moment for the dead, the grieving family members are always clad in mourning clothes, and you need to look the same. Wearing casual attire such as a pair of jeans and sneakers is not only improper as can be but also an indirect way of expressing a lack of empathy to the family.
Never leave your hair uncovered
Running through all African cultures is the responsibility of ladies to cover their hair with either a veil or other head tie as a solemn extension of condolence to the bereaved family. Women who attend African funerals often put extra care into arranging their mourning head ties, as the large gatherings also serve as a time to market oneself as a respectable potential wife!
Never dress in white
White has always been an expression of celebration in the African culture, as it is often seen in moments of marriage, child naming ceremonies and other merry making festivals. But as solemn as a funeral is, the color white is almost never seen, unless the person lived to be an old age. Until otherwise directed by the elders of the bereaved family, funeral attendees are always supposed to go with black and/or red gowns and attires as a means of expressing grief and sadness. Wearing anything to the contrary will mean nothing but a sheer disregard for the family’s grief.
No flip-flops or athletic shoes
Flip-flops or athletic shoes are weird choices for a funeral occasion! Come to think of it, wearing such footwear will not just set you apart from the rest but also question your fashion sanity on the funeral grounds. The best choice is to go for a flat black slipper or a moderate pair of black shoes. Remember, this is a funeral and not a fashion show.