Death personified

Death on a bike

An image from a deviantart user that I'm using without permission. Sorry guy.

You could die any minute now, but the chances are you won’t.

Unless some terrible accident, crime or fatal disease snatches your precious life away, it’s likely you are going to reach a ripe old age of 60 or something, and then die (life expectancy in South Africa is estimated at only 51.6).

Ouma turned 90 this year, and she says she thinks about death almost all the time. She isn’t afraid of it, and says she has made peace with its inevitability. It’s like an old friend that patiently waits for her to finish what she’s busy with.

If death was a person, I think it would be a creepy bold man with a glass eye, peg leg and a hook for a hand, sitting in the corner of the bar called life. The orange glow from the candle light would be just pale enough to reveal a charred face with a freakish grin. Kids would fear him and middle-aged men and women would try to avoid him.

He’d be a nice guy though, once you get to know him. He’d be a regular who orders dry clean gin and smokes a big old pipe.

Few people would take the time to get to know him and therefore never see what a pleasant guy he is. The waitress would know he is kind and gentle and would preach to the patrons of the restaurant that there is more to him than what meets the eye. His ‘usual’ would be a rasher of deep-fried bacon with two eggs sunny-sides up.

His corner would be situated right next to the toilets, so try as you may you would never be able to sidestep him. One day someone might find a new way of getting to the bathroom, but he’ll still be there. He would always be in that God-forsaken corner. Just waiting to make eye contact with strangers and whisper things at the old and weary who walk by. And he’s actually such a nice guy.


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