The Street of Coffin-Makers
The Lagosians of Isale Eko come here with great fanfare when an old person dies. They order the most expensive casket, hire out a school’s sports field, throw a large party with canopies, live music and colorful outfits. The gift of longevity is celebrated. But if the deceased is a youth, fallen before life’s fruition, they buy a simple box. The rites are performed under grief’s discreet shadow: a small afternoon burial on a weekday, a somber brass band, and everyone in black.
by Teju Cole