The role of human replacement in preserving precious memories (Pulse Contributor's Opinion]

I lost my grandmother a few weeks ago, January 23, 2021, precisely. We call her Maami. Maami was my friend - confidante, rant partner, gist buddy and more.

The role of human replacement in preserving precious memories (Pulse Contributor's Opinion]

We were so close that I had learned some of her songs and vocabulary, and I use them as slang when I am with my friends - “aso fidile” was my favourite. In her words, “Zeynab, mo ni ko ye ma wo aso fidile mo”, meaning, Zeynab, stop wearing short dresses that show your bum”. I miss her so much.

A Picture of Maami and I

Maami died, was buried, and we held the final burial ceremony in eight days as she wished. But I dreamt that I got home one afternoon and met Maami on her bed. She used the same old slangs and even threatened to beat me with “pankere” (cane) if I ever acted naughtily. She was swift to act. She looked fresher, and all the sicknesses that wearied her were gone.

As I walked into the room, my tiny handbag fell off in awe. I knew Maami was gone, but here was Maami sitting in front of me. My mouth opened wide in disbelief, and I tiptoed as if the ground was about to sink.

My sister and my father were there. I made gestures to them to tell me what was happening. Then my sister broke it down. She told me about the new concept of human replacement. According to her, it helps people reduce the hurt when a loved one dies. The family gets a look-alike of the dead person, trains the person in the mannerism of the lost one, and puts that person in the place the late one occupies. If the process goes as planned, it will be difficult to separate the identity of the two individuals. So when the family remembers their dead, the presence of this new individual will comfort them.

She explained that the new “Maami” was a replacement they've got to fill in the old one. And, she is, in fact, not a Nigerian. She is a younger woman who had semblance with Maami. She showed me the woman's actual picture, where she looked like an Indian.

I agreed and started relating to the new ‘Maami as Maami’. I thought they had done a superb job and invested a lot to ease my pains by bringing a new Maami. But the unexpected happened, the new Maami ran away! I did not know why, but all I could remember before I woke up was that we were looking for her.

Although it was all a dream, I couldn’t stop thinking about the concept of Human Replacement. I laid on the bed and wondered what the dream meant for over one hour. I searched within, but I couldn’t still find an answer.

Sincerely, I feel we should consider the concept of Human Replacement. I know I may sound somehow now, but let’s think about it: if those homeless could fill the void in a family and reduce the volume of pain and loss, shouldn’t they?

There are already over 17 million people homeless in Nigeria. After a few weeks of training, character check, and background checks, we should grant them homes and a place in society in a loving place that they can call family. I am still unsure of my argument, but you can bring a fresh perspective to it. What exactly is your stance on the concept of replacement? Should it be embraced? Yes or No!


Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.


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