Memento Mori

One of the most feared parts of life is death. Most of the times, death speaks the language of uncertainty as nobody truly knows when it is their time to face it. Thinking about it makes us introspective; we look at all our ambitions and plans, wonder if it is all worth it. Do we have some risks we aren’t taking because of fear? What will we be remembered for when we leave this life?

 Musenga ‘MessenJah’ L. Katongo shares with us his thoughts on the topic of death in his poetry eBook, Memento Mori. 

The best way to describe this book is ‘thought provoking’. Memento Mori is written to help us meditate on what really matters while we are still alive; it is done in such a creative and relatable way that it can easily connect with the reader. Musenga conveys a message that brings us to one of the most feared parts of life: death.

The following are words of Musenga ‘MessenJah’ L. Katongo:

This is an anthology that contains poems on a topic I know I should not conventionally be concerned about, considering my age. But I am. And that topic is death. Following the passing of my dad last year, I’ve spent time writing about my thoughts, meditations and emotional experiences. I now feel ready to share my thoughts in written poetry.

The following is an excerpt from the book:


Picture yourself standing at the back of a crowd of people gathered to pay their last respects to you at your own funeral. Everyone from your relatives, friends, acquaintances and even strangers take turns to describe their experience with you in one sentence. What do you think they would say?

The renowned men and women whose names appear in our history books utilised their time well before their demise. Whether remembered for the good or bad they did, they left something on the face of the earth that no one can take away from them. Some left a mark while others left a stain, whereas majority remained part of nothing more than the generalized community who were only recipients of their work. 

‘Memento Mori’ is Latin for ‘remember you will die’. It is the Medieval Latin Christian theory that I discovered a couple of years ago. It is the practice of re”ection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the temporary nature of all earthly material and pursuits. 

In my meditation of this theory, I learnt that history only remembers certain people by name and generalizes the rest. Also that our spot in history as renowned individuals is only guaranteed once we understand time is against us. 

I usually wonder what people say when a bad person dies. A close friend of mine once told me that ‘funerals make people perfect’. He said this because positive attributes of a deceased individual take the spotlight and everyone seems to forget that that person had a bad side… or at least just for that occasion. But should I really need a funeral to be my ultimate perfection in the eyes of man upon my demise? Will I give people a headache trying to think of all the ‘good things’ about me when preparing their tribute to me?

So I pose this question to you: what shall be your spot in the history of your family, school, workplace, church and nation?

Before you read this book, I would like to state beforehand that the images used here are artistic and representative symbols of the theory Memento Mori. I only ask that you read in a meditative state and ask yourself – what will I be remembered for?

You can download the eBook for free here:


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