The family of France based Afro-pop-rock Ugandan music legend Geoffrey Oryema has been cautioned against cremating the body of the deceased as per his will. The warning was sent out yesterday by Rwot David Onen Acana II, the traditional head chief of the Acholi.
The cremation of Oryema’s remains according to the chief goes against the values of the Acholi people.
According to Rwot, the late Oryema was “an Acholi by birth and heritage,” and that at no time did he renounce being an Acholi.
Chief Onen Acana noted that any interment of ashes in Acholi is not culturally permissible as it may result into bad omen and the consequences of which shall be “borne by your family and clan.”
He added that the intended separation of the remains of the late singer whether it be the human body or ash constitute the discretion of person that is unacceptable because the Acholi believe strongly in life after death and the important role the dead play in the society.
The chief stated in the letter that much as cremation was the late Oryema’s wish in his will, it cannot be executed and respected when it hurts more the common good.
“It is therefore important to look at the common good and avoid creating situations that have long standing implications to society,” the letter reads in part.
Acana noted that not only is human cremation an abominable act to the culture, but also has serious cultural consequences and it’s “not acceptable in our culture.”
He added that there is no indication that the late cannot be granted a decent burial that conforms to the Acholi norms, values and practice, more importantly his ancestral home where his late parents are buried.
“You cannot claim to be Acholi and you discrete one of the most important rites of the Acholi human existence, death,” he added.
However, the family of the late Oryema wrote back to the chief, explaining that they had nothing to do with the cremation plan in Paris, France.
“As you may be aware, other members of the family are already in France and more others are yet to travel shortly and they will discuss with the partner and children of the late about the current controversial decision of cremation and then you will be updated accordingly,” it reads.
The family added that their core value is to return the late George Oryema’s body home and give final send off according to Acholi tradition and culture.
The deceased passed on last week after losing battle to cancer in France where he lived.
The 65-year-old legendary singer was a son to Erinayo Wilson Oryema, Uganda’s first African Inspector General of Police (IGP), Minister of Lands, Housing and Physical Planning, Mineral and Water Resources.