Coffin stories encourage slower driving

I was with the regular crew on our journey into the CBD. They were happy to see me, but I was shocked to find they were still reading a column I wrote a month ago.

We had a wonderful time until we heard a spooky story that raised the hair on the backs of our necks.

A member was in Umkomaas in KwaZulu-Natal to bury her paternal grandmother, a very successful land farmer.

Her grandmother was a stingy woman who would not have her grandchildren over for the holidays because it cost too much to feed them.

She says at the graveyard, just before the coffin went down, a hand suddenly thrust through the wood. The thumb and index fingers of each hand were rubbing together. in the universal sign of moolla. The shocked congregation fled but came back when the priest loudly raised his voice in prayer for the departed.

As soon as he finished, the hand thrust out again. The terrified congregation begged the dead woman's daughter to open the coffin to see if the granny really was dead. She refused and ordered the undertaker to lower the coffin.

The coffin went down to gasps as the hand appeared for the third and last time.

The family quickly scattered after the funeral. No one wanted to be around when granny came visiting in the night to count her money or accuse the living of whatever.

Two weeks have gone by, but the community still cannot decide whether what they saw was mass delusion or the real thing.

Busi then messed us up further with a story of her own. She went to a neighbour's funeral in Pretoria where the family had daggers drawn against each other.

They were accusing each other of having killed their brother and father.

Apparently this man loved life and was a renowned dancer. The family could not understand why he died.

At the graveyard, the coffin was held up with ropes during the service. Right in the middle of the "dust to dust" recital by the minister, the rope snapped. The coffin dropped with a tremendous bang into the deep hole.

But what shocked the mourners was that the coffin went headfirst into the grave.

The coffin split and the man's lower body was exposed. Everyone could see the feet dancing to some rhythm no one could hear.

The friends and neighbours fled. They did not even stop at the bereaved's home for the traditional mourning feast. It was left to the family to tidy up the corpse with its dancing feet and complete the burial.

We laughed too loudly at these horror stories and tried to tough it out. The passengers suddenly noticed that the taxi driver was going too fast and cried out to him to slow down.

I am not sure that I believe these stories or that the others do. I noticed that everyone was uneasy though it was early afternoon. I bet none of us will go to a funeral for some time.