When my mother died I could not afford to fly home for the funeral….I was very nearly down and out in London. I had a roof over my head but I was living on welfare or the dole and housing benefit to be precise with no savings. I was in my thirtieth year. There were only four carriers at the time, KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways, and SAA and prices were high.
My father was worried about costs and his future finances and besides it fit in with his plans, so he couldn’t afford to fly me back to South Africa for the funeral. He didn’t loan me the money. But he intended and did fly back with my Aunt’s body and came for a service at the church in Porton down the road from the labourer’s cottage where she grew up. I I was able to attend the service my Dad organised there for the rest of Mum’s family, scheduled for prior to my Aunt’s burial.
And there was a video made, on VHS, of my Mum’s service in Johanesburg, held at her place of work. In the canteen. And it’s full of people – a sea of black faces.