Written by  Simeon Boyce

The national Shutdown known as “Free Zuma” campaign has brought confusion in the rainbow Nation of South Africa. What started as peaceful protests in Kwazulu Natal province, the home of the jailed former president Jacob Zuma ended with people looting at malls and shopping centers.

A man seen taking a looted a Coffin home A man seen taking a looted a Coffin home

In the videos circulating on social media, people are seen looting items, from food, money from the auto teller machines, furniture, clothes, medicine, including coffins and many more.  

Foreign nationals, including some Malawians have joined the bandwagon. In a video posted on the social media, one woman speaking in Chichewa is heard saying “ zinthu zili chonchi kuno ku South Africa, nane ndaba nawo, ndikuchokera kokuba monga mokuwoneramu, ndaba pang’ono kamba tinalipo ambiri ndipo ndimaopa, sindingangosiyira anthu a ku South Africa okha kumaba”, translated as “this  is how things are in South Africa, am just coming from looting, as you can see I looted a little because there were many of us and I was afraid, I can’t just leave South Africans alone to be looting, I had to join them”.

People have been looting everything they come across at the shops. However what has shook Malawians including myself, are people who instead of looting things they can use at home, they had to loot coffins in coffin workshops.

There are pictures on social media showing people carrying caskets home, and some were seen sitting on top of the coffins in cars taking them home.  Who doesn’t know the use of coffins? Coffins are for the dead, and according to our traditions, it is unheard of to see someone carrying a coffin alone, let alone bringing a coffin at home when there is no funeral.

What is even more shocking is that some of the looters have resorted to using the coffins as braai stands. Already, there is a coffin-braai stand picture circulating on the social media. This is a clear sign of moral decay among the youth in the rainbow nation.

Currently, there are some coffin looters who do not want to use the coffin for braai stand, but instead are looking for buyers.

Meanwhile, Malawians have reacted differently to this shameful act by people in South Africa with others describing the development as an embarrassment to the nation as it against the African tradition of respecting the dead.

On the eve of the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was reported that assistant to former Michael Gorbechev’s economic advisor, stole paper clips. When confronted, her honest answer was “I stole what was available to be stolen”. This can be related to what is happening in South Africa. May be these looters are resorting into looting coffins and caskets because they came late after the looting spree, and they could not do otherwise but  to lay their hands on what was available. Remember there is a saying that a habitual thief may steal a worthless thing such as a broom if his mission to steal a wealthier thing inside the house has failed. 

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