The Great Beyond

Pamela J. Olúbùnmi Smith, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Used by permission of EBSCO Information Services.


The story opens with the funeral oflkolo, a jovial, convivial man who had predicted that on the day of his funeral he would return "if only to have his last laugh." In Lagos, Nigeria, the length of a funeral procession usually tells "the sort of man who had died." However, although Ikolo was quite popular and was known and appreciated for delighting in making people laugh, his funeral procession is unusually short. Every­ thing about the funeral and the day on which it occurs is strange and ominous: the dreary rain, the "disturbed" singing, the disorganized procession, the general lack of coordination, and the rather awkward, irreverent atmosphere, all of which are noted by the onlookers who line the procession route.