'You made life suck, and then you died' — a eulogy for Thembeka Shezi

Thembeka Shezi's funeral will air on 'Scandal!' on e.tv on June 18

17 June 2020 - 10:20
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Natasha Sutherland plays Layla McKenzie in 'Scandal!'.
Natasha Sutherland plays Layla McKenzie in 'Scandal!'.
Image: Supplied/Ochre Moving Pictures

Dearest Thembeka,

I’m troubled. How do I honour the departed when it’s someone I hate? But for some reason, I felt the need to say something. So, I researched “how to write a eulogy in four easy steps”. 

You didn’t want a fuss of a funeral, which doesn’t surprise me since you’ve always wanted to have the last word. As I can’t say my speech at your memorial congregation, I’ll say it to you now, Dear Ms Shezi, in a letter you’ll never get to read.

Here we go ...

Step 1: start the eulogy by saying how you knew the deceased; be friendly and succinct

Hi! I’m the mother of the man you almost destroyed.

Step 2: make a list of special moments highlighting the deceased’s favourable qualities

Thembeka Shezi, you were a woman of extreme loyalty. When you fell in love with my son, you fell hook, line and sinker. Or ... is that crook, lying and stinker?  

Perhaps love is too soft a word. Did you fall in toxic deception? Did you fall into an unrelenting obsession? Pity you didn’t see the mother behind the son, watching you watching him.

You were a woman whose intelligence was beyond compare. This could be seen in your attention to detail when plotting to tamper with paternity evidence. You almost denied me the privilege of my grandson. Pity you didn’t realise that blood is thicker than water.

I’m relieved! You’re dead and now can’t haunt us anymore.
Layla McKenzie

You were truly beautiful. You looked especially queen-like on your wedding day. Your dress was a stunner, beaded and white with a train of plumed feathers.

Pity it became tinged with blood when you had to dump the body of a man you killed moments before you said “I do” to my son.

You had the ability to move a person with your words. Everyone who watched your testimony in court can vouch that your “I’m not guilty” plea to murder, was poignant. You cried. The onlookers cried. I even think the judge cried. Pity the bailiff didn’t check your pockets for onions.

You had a remarkable ability to adapt. One minute you were dying and because of that you were bathed in forgiveness for your sins. What a miracle! The next minute you were cured (it’s a miracle) and by not admitting that, you remained bathed in forgiveness for your sins. Pity for you, the truth always comes out.

Step 3: what is the tone of your eulogy?

I’m pissed off! That’s the tone. You were a tsunami leaving a trail of debris in your path. You were a bomb that detonated frequently, and we’re all your collateral damage.

I’m relieved! You’re dead and now can’t haunt us any more. You’re gone and there’ll be no more surprises, fake pregnancies, affairs, “please forgive me” and “I did it because I love you”.

I’m ashamed! That’s the tone. God knows that compassion is said to pave the way to freedom. If that’s the case, then I’ve failed, and you’ve won.

I realise on that last day I saw you, you were trying to say goodbye in the best possible way. Your “sorry” was really sorry, like a “little girl” sorry. The woman in me should have seen that, but the mother in me couldn’t. I was too darkened by pain to understand.

Forgive me. Thorn in my side!

Thembeka Shezi, you were a force to be reckoned with, a vortex of manipulation, but a force nonetheless 
Layla McKenzie

I’m grateful. You took a bullet for my son. Granted, the bullet wouldn’t have been flying towards his head had you never been in his life in the first place. Still, he’s alive, and you’re dead.

Step 4: close the eulogy with how the deceased will be missed

Thembeka Shezi, you were a force to be reckoned with, a vortex of manipulation, but a force nonetheless.

Now that force is gone, there’s a gaping hole where it once was. The world is devoid of your potency.

I know you’d lose all respect for me if I said that I’ll miss you just because that’s what’s expected of the living to say of the dead; so to honour you, let me be honest ... You will not be missed by me, but you’ll always be remembered as formidable.

After a life of strife,  I can truly say I hope you are at peace now, dear Ms Shezi, wherever you are.

With (guarded) regards

Your “monster-in-law ”

Layla McKenzie

P.S. Now, I’ve had the last word.

Thembeka Shezi’s funeral will air on e.tv, Thursday, June 18 at 7.30pm.
#etvScandal #RIPThembekaShezi

This article was paid for by Ochre Moving Pictures.