We had our first experience with a traditional Xhosa funeral on Saturday. The funeral was conducted by the "New Apostolic Church of Zion South Africa". It began at 8:00 am and concluded at 2:00 pm. There are several components to the service. At 8:00 am they bring the body in to the home. The women have their own meeting at which time they pay tribute to the deceased. Click on the video to listen.
We were in a room about 12 X 12 feet. There were over 75 people in the room. There was a smaller adjoining room where the family members sat and watched over the deceased. In the center of the large room was a woman who played the drum. Those rich beautiful voices I sure were heard in heaven. The female authorities from the church would speak (in very loud voices) and their were many hallelujahs and amens. The service was all done in the Xhosa language. There was dancing, singing, swaying and praising God.
Those dressed in the white an blue robes officiated. There seemed to be two women who communicated to each other. Any woman could take a turn praising. I tried to find information on Google about their beliefs and came up with nothing. The women's portion lasted about an hour. The men sat outside. When the men came in, the women said their final goodbyes and their was weeping and wailing. The funeral was then moved to the local church where more speaking, singing, dancing, and swaying occurred. Then the burial. The conclusion is the meal back at the compound.