Tuesday, September 6, 2011



The funeral service had already started as Sara and I slipped into one of the back pews of the Cathedral of the Child Jesus, a huge ugly cavern of a building. ‘It looks as if it was designed for grain storage,’ I whispered to Sara, as some of the Christians on the pew in front turned round to scowl.

‘Look at the high and mighty seated in the front row,’ said Sara, ‘the very thieves and hypocrites that misused their power to persecute and terrorise him.’

As we were entertaining ourselves with these subversive whispers, a priest walked towards the lectern and announced ‘All rise and sing Hymn No.396, What a friend we have in Jesus. There’s nothing more uplifting than a good tune, so I decided to give it a go…

What a friend we had in Duffy,

How his death is hard to bear,

What a burden he did carry,

Opposing all that was unfair.

O what peace he had to forfeit,

O what pain he had to bear,

All because he dared to tell us,

That our rulers do not care.

Had he trials and tribulations?

Was shushushu everywhere?

He would never be discouraged,

Took it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find another Duffy?

Who can all our sorrows share?

Duffy knew how we suffered,

And broadcast it everywhere.

We were weak and heavy-laden,

Raising voice we did not dare,

Duffy was our only ally,

Walked into the lion’s lair.

Raised his voice to high and mighty,

Now send him to the Lord in prayer,

Voice and courage he did give us,

Now his voice is everywhere.

As we sat down, I got more scowls from the row in front. ‘Why can’t you just stick to the words in the hymn book?’ Sara whispered irritably.

‘The original message was too conservative,’ I explained, ‘I was worried that Duffy might climb out of his coffin to contradict it.’

‘May his soul rest in peace,’ said Sara, ‘even without your assistance.’

Now we all sat down as some nondescript priest began some long rambling account of the life of Paul Duffy in an inaudible voice. Having left home without breakfast, I began to doze off, despite the hard wooden pew which had been specially designed to keep me awake.

But I was aroused from my slumber by a clear voice saying ‘the reading this morning is taken from The Epistle of Paul to the Lozis, Chapter 23, Verses 5-11…’

I looked up, and there was a bishop standing in the pulpit, dressed in white cassock, with a tall white mitre on his head. His skin was as white as his cassock, making him look more like a ghost. He certainly had my attention as he began the reading…

‘And a cancer has fallen upon this land, which is eating up the people, and leaving the land barren and spoilt.

‘But this is not a cancer of the body but a cancer of the economy, for this cancer which is eating away at the Land of the Lozi is called economic growth.

‘But some of the victims of this malignant cancer called economic growth are yet praising it, saying the country is richer every year, and we shall soon be free of poverty and disease.

‘But I say unto you that economic growth is the poverty and the disease. For when we were a poor country living on fish and wheat and goats we were better off, our children were well fed and healthy, and were schooled in the synagogues. But now that we have discovered the great riches of copper, we are poor and starving.

‘For King Herod tells us that the Romans will only come to mine our copper if we work for starvation wages. And all the copper is taken away by the Romans, and we see none of it. This wealth is used to build Rome, while Jerusalem is collapsing.

‘And Herod allows this because the Romans give him a cut, so that he can build his palace and live like a Roman, while the rest of us live as landless slaves in our own country.

‘The cancer of economic growth is eating into this country, corrupting our leaders and destroying the land and its people. But the Pharisees tell you to pray to the Lord for your salvation which is in Heaven. But I say to you that Jesus died to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth, not the Kingdom of the Devil in the Copper Mines.’

Now the bishop looked up from the Good Book. ‘Here endeth the first lesson,’ he declared, as he walked down from the pulpit, and seemed almost to float as he walked up the aisle towards the coffin, and disappeared into it.

I felt Sara’s elbow dig into my ribs. ‘Wake up!’ she said. ‘You’ve slept through the entire service! It’s time to go!’

‘Nonsense!’ I retorted, ‘I enjoyed the funeral service immensely! I’m even thinking of booking this venue for my own!’

‘So what can you tell me about the sermon?’ Sara asked suspiciously, as we walked out into the bright mid-day sun. ‘What did the bishop say?’

‘He said that the voice of Paul remains the voice of the people!’

‘Did he say that?’ Sara wondered. ‘If his voice remains, then perhaps he has resurrected?’

‘Not yet,’ I said confidentially. ‘The voice of the people is due to resurrect on 20th September.’


  1. You conspicuously missed out King cobra’s episode in yo story. I want u Kalaki to report how the Cobra was refused to greet the Pharisees.