Diary of a Glad African Woman — Part 4

28 Feb
~Ka-Di — My Rendition of Goodbye~
Goodbye in a sense can be by far the most distressing word in the English dictionary. It is what we say as a farewell. The word itself can be followed with a flood of mixed emotions. It could bring happiness, sadness, liberation, and even mourning. Many languages and cultures have their own translation of the word. The Thai say “la Korn”, the Italians say “arrivederci”, and the French say “au revoir”. My people the Ibibio’s closest rendition of the word is “Ka-di” which I translate to mean “Go and Come “. In essence my culture is not afraid to let go of family and loved ones. Instead we let them go and let them know our arms will be open to welcome them back. We love you, we would like you to stay but there is a whole other life for you to experience. Go and come back with fascinating stories, go and come back with gifts. Go and come back with help to save us all. Go and come back before my birthday, go and come back in the rainy season.

Ka-di does not mean the one parting will always come back in person. The soldier may come back in the form of a letter filled with beautiful parting words and memories of bravery. The one gone will come back in our minds in the form of delightful memories of wonderful adventures. You will see the person when you hear a song they very much loved. You will see the person when you recall who taught you how to read. You will see the person when you remember when they made you laugh or cry. Go in person, come back in my heart.

My Granddad has just completed a successful life. He had a fulfilling career as an Ambassador, started a wonderful family which will continue growing stronger and stronger for generations. He was a Christian faithful to his Catholicism beliefs. He was a Father who opened his home to many. He was a Son of his soil who aspired for the development of his community. I am grateful that in my lifetime I got to meet him and eat cashew nuts served by him. There is nothing dreadful about the death of a fruitful life. Dry your tears everyone, Granddad is off to the next episode of an interesting life series. While we may miss him, please welcome the culture of my people and tell him Ka-di. Go Granddad and come back in our hearts.

This is a real piece I wrote that was published in the programme of my Granddad’s funeral of April 10th 2010…

Ibibio is a Nigerian tribe, find out more about the Ibibio culture on Wikipedia

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