THE ECONOMICS OF DEATH: THE GOLDIE, REEVA STORY

Death is not a pleasant eventuality, but it is inevitable. But you know what’s rather funny, how people start listening when you’re dead.

Goldie Harvey, Nigerian hip-hop artiste and representative at the last Big Brother Africa Star Game reality show, passed away on February 14, Valentine’s Day. She had just returned from the United States where she attended the Grammy Awards.

The very next morning, as news about Goldie’s death started to settle in, there was another report of another death somewhere in South Africa, of someone I never knew existed.

Now, many of us remember the name Oscar Pistorius from the London Olympics, the South African sprint runner with double-knee amputations. He is currently facing ‘pre-meditated’ murder charges following the shooting of his 29-year-old model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home.

I make bold to say that, like me, many other people prior to this unpleasant report, had no knowledge of the person that was Reeva Steenkamp. However, that has surely changed since this morning.

Please follow me closely. Goldie was an international star, emphasized largely by her participation in the Big Brother Reality Show. News of her death spread across the continent and beyond within the first hour of early reporting by trustworthy sources.

Reeva Steenkamp, a former FHM model and law graduate, was the face of Avon cosmetics in South Africa. She was a contestant on South African TV show “Tropika Island of Treasure 5” which is due to be broadcast for the first time this weekend.

This article deliberately ignores the intricacies surrounding both deaths, and focuses on what is to be expected from a rather economic point-of-view. Make no mistakes I beg you, this article is not in any way an attempt to make light the matter of their deaths nor seek to commercialise that; it merely describes what might happen based on similar events in the past.

Remember 2pac Shakur, it is reported that he sold 6 million albums while alive, but has sold over 30 million albums since his death in 1996. Already, Goldie’s songs have been rocking the airwaves and screens, as well as images and videos of her life as a celebrity. Maybe 2Pac’s story is far-fetched, remember DaGrin, Nigerian native Yoruba rapper who died in 2010, it is reported that his album sales increased immediately after his death.

I very much would like to see statistics of actual viewing as against initial projections following the airing of “Tropika Island of Treasure 5” that Reeva starred in. I am also looking forward to a tribute song in honour of Goldie Harvey, as well as rising figures for her album sale.

Death seems to make almost everyone suddenly so good and graceful. I am not suggesting that either Goldie or Reeva lacked goodness or grace, but it is typical to find people overly sympathetic and emotional in times of death.

If you ask me, I’d say let the life that we live be all that there is to define who we are. We should not seek to please the dead, nor portray them in unbefitting light; rather, let us only acknowledge their lives and the truth that they represented while they lived. We are not saints, whether in life or in death. We are humans.

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