Funeral fashion; anti-love drug; rentals gone mad

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

the funeral finds its apotheo­sis in Ghana, where cel­e­bra­tions of life of­ten be­come ex­trav­a­gant multi-day so­cial events, com­plete with rit­u­als and cer­e­monies, but also with drink­ing, danc­ing and splen­did at­tire. Fas­ci­nated by the rich va­ri­ety of tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary funeral cul­tures through­out Ghana, Swiss cos­tume de­signer Lisa Meier teamed up with Ghana­ian his­to­rian Irene Odotei to pro­duce pho­tog­ra­phy book Funeral Fashion Ghana (Edi­tion Pa­trick Frey).

‘On week­ends, funeral at­tire of­ten dom­i­nates the pub­lic space,’ the book notes. ‘The cloth­ing styles range from tra­di­tional to con­tem­po­rary and are in­flu­enced by chang­ing fashion trends. Through its funeral at­tire and its signs and sym­bols, Ghana­ian so­ci­ety takes on a vis­i­ble form.’

One of the best-known flour­ishes of Ghana­ian fu­ner­als is the‘fan­tasy cof­fin’that is some­times used. A sculp­tural cof­fin is carved to por­tray the pro­fes­sion or pas­sions of the

de­parted: a fish­er­man might be buried in a fish-shaped cas­ket, or a movie-en­thu­si­ast in a cof­fin re­sem­bling a cam­era (while, for the he­do­nists, there’s a beer bot­tle or a packet of cig­a­rettes). Tra­di­tion­ally, the fam­ily chose the cof­fin, but one coffin­maker told CNN that he was in­creas­ingly en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to state their pref­er­ence while still alive, lest they get stuck in the wrong sym­bol for eter­nity.

‘It’s only the cof­fin you’ll be go­ing with, and noth­ing else.’

In Ghana, the fu­ner­al­cel­e­bra­tion cul­ture is vividly

life-af­firm­ing.

Top left, below and below left Im­ages from Funeral Fashion Ghana de­pict the tra­di­tional and the con­tem­po­rary fashion of Ghana’s funeral cul­ture.

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