Nonso Okpala
4 min readApr 10, 2021


*Death is a beautiful thing*

Death is a beautiful thing, easily the best thing known to man.

Artwork by Bob-Nosa

Through the lens of the bereaved, it seems the most cruel experience. But on a deeper reflection, death is revealed as a most compelling beauty.

Humans are emotional beings and this reflects on all our life phases, and in our natural response to things. Especially to death — the imminence — the fear.

For years, mine was of air-crash. So consuming a fear that I’d drive to Uga from Lagos, risking death and kidnapping, wasting man hours. Rather to die on land than to fall from the sky. Zuby, my good man, would send me statistics that show that air travel is the safest, but “I won’t travel by air to save my life” was always my response. Fast forward to today:

I am on this plane to Lagos from Accra and I am writing about death with no iota of fear of death. But what if it does happen? Then, so be it — Death is a beautiful thing. I have chosen to live while yet alive.

On the 14th of January this year, I lost my Dad. He was ill for more than two years. In that time, I watched my super hero father diminish into a sad man who longed for death. He was in pain, disillusioned and I could read the clear message in his eyes, begging for respite. Every breath was a struggle, and each time I visited him, it took three days to shake off the sorrow that seeing him ignited.

Then he died and I was sad beyond comprehension. I had to fight back depression and a deep sense of confusion until it finally hit me — death is a beautiful thing. For my Dad, it was peace.

Every tyranny or uprising known to man has always ended in death. Imagine that death didn’t exist and man had to deal in perpetuity with some of the ugly characters littered throughout history. What would life be then?

History is replete with stories of men who changed the course of humanity. Most of them set men free from the clutches of tyranny and made the world a better place. These men all have something in common: they stood up to be counted at great risk to themselves and that of their families.

The Jasmine Revolution (“Arab Spring”) was ignited by the self immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi. That sacrifice ignited a revolution that toppled two governments and altered the political structure of other Countries. Suicide is not advised but the courage of that expression is a sacrifice that defies death and has triggered the most improbable.

Tyranny is ruled by the boundary of death. They instil the fear of death in you and then ultimately gain control. To the extent that our culture eschews death, our people will be easily dominated.

Consider the bravery of the Wright brothers who gave us the gift of air-travel, the insanity of test flights on test planes or whatever their contraption was called back then. Regardless of how genius the invention was, someone had to test the flight. Would you have volunteered? I sometimes shudder at the anti-innovative behaviour of authorities who outlaw pioneering endeavours, forgetting that to establish a new and efficient system, there must be a substitution or even demise of the old. It’s like an apoptosis and is the natural order of things.

In a philosophical sense, the only thing we are promised at birth is death. Not success, failure, wealth etc but death.

I was in Ibokun, Osun State, this weekend for a burial and I came across a family where the patriarch built the “house” he would want to be buried. Death is certain and he’s made it a beautiful thing. In some sense, such demise wouldn’t feel like a loss but a glorious transition. By planning for its inevitability, we create a larger than death personality. By living with death as a clear and present possibility, we remain focused on a legacy that serves humanity. How would you live if today was your last on earth? This is why I live in a haste and anyone who has worked with me can testify to that. Why do tomorrow what you can do today?

The fear of failure is another beautiful thing — it tells you to prepare and cover all the basis. Use fear as a barometer of your preparedness. Plan your course of action based on varied scenarios, plan A — E at the minimum. If you wake up every morning with an urge or vision, then it can’t go wrong, it is your destiny. Don’t let fear get the best of you. Go for it.

Prepare, research, plan multiple scenarios and make that bold move. Whatever the outcome, be consoled in the thought that “death, is a beautiful thing.”



Nonso Okpala

A visionary and serial investor. Managing Director/CEO of VFD Group Ltd and Father-In-Chief.