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MBABANE – At the age of 85 years Catholic priest, St Joseph’s Parish Priest and Catholic schools overseer Father Angelo Ciccone already has a coffin in preparation for his death.

After spending 60 years in the country since 1957, Father Ciccone, who originates from Naples in Italy, opted to get himself a coffin which, according to him, was handcrafted at Kululameni Training Centre, a vocational centre he established at St Joseph’s Mission for vocational training.

Named ‘Nkhom’iyahlaba’ by the late King Sobhuza II, Father Ciccone said the love of the Swazi culture made him have the will of being buried in the country when this days on earth come to an end.
“I have the coffin, which has been available for about a year now and I am waiting for God to call me anytime,” said Father Ciccone.
Father Ciccone said death was something unpredictable and after living for 85 years he believed that it was in God’s hand to take him any day.

The middle class coffin, made of wood covered by an orange soft cushion inside, unusual for dignified people to use for their burials, is a symbol of the warm heart embracing the priest’s soul.
Father Ciccone said he will use the same grave used by the late Father Francis Mayr as a symbol of appreciation and honour to the late founder of the mission.

The St Joseph’s Mission founder, Father Francis Mayr, was murdered by Fanyana Mdluli in October 1914 who was later executed through hanging under Queen Labotsibeni’s decree.
“Sometime next year before May, Father Mayr’s grave will be dug and his skeleton (bones) will be washed then buried in a different grave because I will use the grave he is in now for my funeral in a bid to honour the late founder of the mission who took an initiative to take care of the handicapped and underprivileged people in the community,” said the Catholic Priest.

Father Ciccone said the grave to be used to re-bury Father Mayr was already in place as he had made all arrangements before meeting his death.
“I used to be frightened after seeing my coffin as it is part of the Swazi mythology that when you prepare for your funeral while you are living, it meant you will not live any longer. It really scared me,” said Father Ciccone.
Father Ciccone said the courage, getting a coffin came to him as a way of avoiding an unplanned funeral.  

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