Funeral Guests Are Amazed When ‘Dead’ Woman Walks in as a Guest

Death is an inevitable part of life and something we all have to accept, but it’s something that we hope to avoid for as long as possible. When we’re gone, those we leave behind gather to pay their respects and celebrate our lives with one another at funerals. Can you imagine attending your own funeral? It’s a morbid thought, but it would certainly be interesting to see what people have to say about you after you’re gone.

Photograph of Noela in a pink and black leopard print dress with yellow accents.
Source: ABC News

Well, one woman named Noela Rukundo found herself in an extraordinary situation when she was able to attend a very special funeral: her own! Noela was born in the African nation of Burundi and went through a lot of difficult times in her homeland before eventually seeking a new life in Australia. There, everything seemed to get better for Noela, until the fateful day she had to go home for a very strange and unexpected reason: to gatecrash her very own funeral.

Seeking A Better Life Elsewhere

It was way back in 2004 that Noela decided it was time for a change. Like so many people, she spent her whole life in her homeland, but she always imagined what life might be like somewhere different. She had gotten married and had five kids, but her first husband died, leaving her a single mom with big responsibilities.

Photograph of Noela in front of a brick house.
Source: YouTube

She decided that the best way to care for her family was to seek out a fresh start. She decided to travel to Australia, finding a new job and a nice place where she and her kids could really settle down. Her kids adjusted well to their new home, and everything seemed to be going great.

A New Chance, A New Romance?

Noela is a strong, independent mom who clearly didn’t need a man to get by, but she was happy when she did meet a guy she liked. His name was Balanga Kalala, and the pair met while Noela was visiting her social worker, who helped her get settled in Australia.

Balanga Kalala in front of an ocean view.
Source: Facebook

Balanga knew how to speak English, and Noela didn’t. She could only speak Swahili at the time. So, he offered to help out and translated things for her at the social worker’s office. Seeing how helpful and kind he seemed to be, Noela slowly started to fall for Balanga. She also discovered that he was originally from Congo and had fled to Australia after his wife and son were killed.

Time to Say “I Do”

Originally, when she left for Australia, Noela never even thought about getting married again. She’d already been through it all once before and was devoted to her first husband, even after he passed away. However, as she started to fall deeper in love with Balanga, everything began to change. He was a sweet, caring, thoughtful man.

Noela and Balanga on their wedding day dressed in a gown and suit on the beach.
Source: Twitter

He knew how to make her laugh and how to brighten her days. He seemed to be just right for her. She was crazy about him, and before long, they were living together. Then they got engaged and married. Noela’s kids loved Balanga, too, and he treated them like his own. The couple also welcomed three new children into the world, but things started to unravel.

Worrying Signs Begin to Appear

Balanga and Noela decided to move to a little suburb in Melbourne. Their life together started nicely, but as time passed, Noela started to see some suspicious and worrying signs. She discovered more about her new husband, and she didn’t like what she saw. She’d always believed that Balanga was a good and caring man.

Photograph of Balanga Kalala in front of the beach.
Source: Facebook

Unfortunately, after the pair got married and had their kids, he began to show his true colors. He could be very violent at times. He lost his temper easily and even physically hurt his wife on many occasions. Then, after being so enraged, he’d suddenly become calm and sweet again, begging Noela to forgive him.

Bad News from Burundi

In her earlier life, back in Burundi, Noela had been raised by her step-mom. Even though she was now living a whole new life in a country very far from her family, she still kept in touch with them. She made use of modern technology like email and Skype to learn about events back home and find out how everyone was doing.

Close up of a white casket with flowers on top in a hearse.
Photo by NKM999 / Shutterstock.com

One day, she got some very bad news. It turned out that her step-mom, who had been ill for quite a while, had sadly died. Noela knew that she had to go back to Burundi and attend the funeral. It was the right thing to do and would give her a chance to say a proper goodbye to the lady who raised her.

A Very Long Journey Home

Burundi is about 7,000 miles away from Australia, so it was a big journey for Noela to take. She flew out of Melbourne direct for her homeland. When she arrived, she had quite a few things to do. Attending the funeral was the most important entry on her list, but she also spent some time visiting people she knew, including friends and family members.

Noela being interviewed.
Source: Washington Post

Meanwhile, while she was away, her husband called her often to check up on her and see how she was getting on. Noela’s home in Burundi was very small, so she decided to stay at a hotel instead of to have a little more space and comfort. When the funeral service was over, she went back to her room and got a very important call.

A Very Odd Call

Noela had just gone through a tough time, saying goodbye to her step-mom. She was happy to see her phone start to ring and notice that the voice on the other end belonged to her husband, but when she heard him start to speak, her happiness faded away. He said he’d been trying to call her all day and sounded strange. He wasn’t his usual self.

Photograph of a woman on her cell phone.
Source: LinkedIn

He sounded very worried and odd, but wouldn’t tell her why. She decided not to worry about it too much and started to tell him about the funeral service. Then, at the end of their call, she said goodnight and told him she was about to go to bed. At this, he reacted strangely again, telling her that she should go outside and take a walk instead of sleeping.

A Walk That Changes Everything

Noela decided that her husband was right. She felt like a bit of fresh air, and an evening stroll would help her relax and forget about the worries of the day. She stepped out of the hotel and started walking. Suddenly, a man started walking right towards her with a gun in his hand!

Photograph of a dark shadow walking along a dark pathway.
Source: Flickr

It was clear that the man was aiming his firearm in Noela’s direction. Naturally, she was terrified. Then the man started to speak. He told Noela not to scream. He said he’d shoot her if she started to scream, adding that even if cops caught him, she’d still be dead. She was terrified and decided to do what she was told.

The Horrible Ordeal Continues

Noela just wanted to stay alive. At that moment, her mind was only thinking of one thing: she had to do whatever she could to get out of the situation and return home to her family. The gunman made her walk over to a nearby car and get inside. There were three men inside the car with her, and two of them had guns.

Dark alley with a car shining his headlights from afar.
Photo by Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

The car set off and drove for around 40 minutes. Noela was so scared the whole time, but she tried to remain as focused as possible. She knew that nobody was coming to save her, and she had to stay alert if she wanted to survive. Eventually, the car stopped, and Noela was dragged out of the car and into a building.

Tied to A Chair

When she got into the building, Noela was immediately tied to a chair. She didn’t dare say a single word or scream for help, as she had no idea where she was or even if anyone would hear her cries. While she was sitting in the chair and waiting to see what happened next, she overheard one of the kidnappers on the phone with someone. Next, the men started asking her questions.

Hands of a victim tied up with rope.
Photo by ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

They said, “What did you do to this man? Why has this man asked us to kill you?” Noela couldn’t understand what was going on! She realized that it seemed like some man had paid these guys to kill her, but why? Who would do such a thing? She was just an innocent mom who never hurt anybody.

The Truth Is Revealed

Noela was so confused, the only thing she could do was ask the kidnappers who the man was. She wanted to know who could possibly want her to die. The kidnappers responded, revealing some shocking and unbelievable news. It was her husband! Balanga had been responsible for hiring the killers. Noela didn’t believe them at first.

Balanga on the left and Noela on the right.
Source: Twitter

She knew that Balanga could be violent and harsh at times, but she believed that he was a good, loving man deep down. She accused the kidnappers of lying to her. They got angry and told her she was a fool for still trusting a man who wanted her dead. Still, Noela couldn’t accept or believe what was happening. To prove his point, one of the kidnappers then called up the man who ordered the killing.

A Voice Like A Knife in Her Heart

Noela sat and waited with fear and confusion, running through her mind. She just couldn’t believe it. There was no way that Balanga would have done such a thing. In her mind, it was impossible. The phone rang, and the kidnapper put it on the loudspeaker, telling the man on the other end that he and his friends had successfully kidnapped Noela and asking what to do next.

A close-up photograph of an African American woman crying.
Photo by Miguel Juarez Lugo / Zuma Press / Corbis

Then, the moment came that Noela will never forget. She heard a voice she knew very well, saying two words that felt like daggers in her heart: “Kill her.” It was Balanga’s voice. The same man she’d had children with, fallen in love with, and said “I do” with, was literally ordering her execution.

Noela Begins to Lose Hope

Noela was so shocked at hearing Balanga’s voice that she actually passed out. When she awoke, she thought of her children back home and what Balanga would tell them. Her heart broke as she imagined her family never knew what had really happened to her. Then, she noticed the kidnappers all staring at her. One of them then said something that made her breathe a huge sigh of relief.

A woman tied to a chair in a dark room with a masked man on the phone.
Photo by Estrada Anton / Shutterstock.com

He said they weren’t going to kill her because they never killed women or children. She didn’t know how to react, but the leader of the group carried on talking. He revealed that Balanga had ordered the hit several months ago and asked Noela what she’d done to anger her husband so badly at that time. She couldn’t think of anything.

Killers with Principles

Noela couldn’t believe that she was still alive. It turned out that these killers and kidnappers, despite being terrible men who did terrible things, still had at least some principles. She stayed with them for a couple of days in an abandoned building. There, she watched as they spoke to Balanga over the phone again, telling him that his wife had been killed and the job was done.

A worn down abandoned apartment building.
Photo by futurewalk / Shutterstock.com

They made him pay up for their work and even extorted a little extra cash out of it. All the while, Noela was sitting, watching, and reflecting on the whole story. Even after all she’d gone through and seen, it was still so hard to accept that the man she trusted could have planned something like that.

Noela’s Brother Starts to Worry

Noela had family and friends in Burundi, and they were concerned when she suddenly seemed to disappear. Her brother visited the hotel where she’d been staying and asked to see her room. He saw that all of her clothes and possessions were still there, so he realized that there was no way she could have left the country without telling him or anybody else.

Police are patrolling around the Gold Coast, Australia.
Photo by ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

He knew she was still there, in Burundi, but didn’t know what had happened. He had Balanga’s number, so he decided to give him a call. Noela’s husband pretended to be shocked at the fact that Noela had vanished. He seemed worried and scared, even sending money to Noela’s brother so he could pay the police and start a missing person investigation.

Time to Taste Freedom Again

After two whole days, Noela got some good news. Her captors revealed that they were going to set her free. They also told her she was very lucky to still be alive. They said that other criminals would have simply accepted the money and killed her, but she had been lucky to fall in the hands of criminals who refused to do that.

A car driving towards a lit building in the snow at night.
Photo by Giuseppe Barletta / Shutterstock.com

They also gave her a warning. They said that Balanga wanted her dead at all costs and clearly wasn’t going to stop until he got what he wanted. They said there could be other killers out there, so they told her to be careful and get back home as quickly as possible. They also gave her a memory card with all of the phone calls from Balanga recorded on it, along with receipts of the money he’d sent.

A Fight for Survival

Noela knew she didn’t have any time to lose. The first thing she did with her freedom was getting to a phone and calling the pastor of her church in Australia, Dassano Harruno Nantogmah. He was amazed to get her call as Balanga had been telling everyone back home that she was missing. Noela told him everything.

A Church built from bluestone in Melbourne, Australia.
Photo by David L Young / Shutterstock.com

He barely believed her at first, but she eventually convinced him that she was telling the truth. She also told him that she was heading home, but asked him to keep it all a secret from everyone and wait until she arrived to share the news. Then, Noela started to prepare the perfect revenge plan.

The Fake Funeral

Back in Melbourne, Balanga was keeping up the act. He told everyone that Noela had been killed in an accident and played the part of the grieving widower. In reality, he was laughing behind their backs and thinking of the future life that lay ahead of him.

Photograph of Balanga speaking at Noela’s funeral.
Source: Instagram

Meanwhile, all of the members of the local community who loved and cared for Noela began to grieve. They started preparations for a funeral, and when the big day arrived, Balanga cried and acted sad as mourners gave him their best wishes. Little did he know that Noela was actually on her way there and was about to disrupt his plans in the most dramatic way.

Attending Her Very Own Funeral

On February 22 of 2015, Noela made it safely back to Melbourne. She was so happy to be out of Burundi and back in the country where she felt safe, secure, and at home. But she still had a big task ahead of her! She had heard news about the fake funeral that her husband had planned, and she only had one idea in mind: she was going to gatecrash the big event.

Noela is arriving at her own funeral.
Source: Instagram

At 7.30pm on the day of the funeral, she was sitting in a parked car, just outside the family home. She was watching and waiting for the perfect moment to make her grand entrance. Finally, she saw Balanga step out of the house and guide some of the guests to their car.

Making Her Move

It was dark when Noela finally stepped out of the car and began walking over towards the house. Balanga was standing outside and spotted her walking towards him. She saw the expression on his face change immediately. He looked completely shocked and terrified, and he even started speaking to himself, mumbling words under his breath.

Noela is standing outside of a car.
Source: Instagram

Slowly and confidently, Noela walked right up to him. She stood right in front of him and looked into his eyes. Balanga thought she might be a ghost, so she reached out to touch her. Then, he realized that she was real. Suddenly, he started screaming, crying, and begging for forgiveness, just like he always used to whenever he got violent.

An Unforgivable Act

Noela had forgiven Balanga many times in the past. He had hurt her, emotionally and physically, on several occasions. She always gave him the benefit of the doubt. She believed him when he said that the violence in his past had affected his mind. She trusted him when he said he was going to be a better man. But this time, even though she had truly loved him, she couldn’t forgive what he had done.

Noela is sitting in a white dress with yellow accents.
Source: Instagram

Noela revealed that she’d called the cops, who then revealed themselves and ordered Balanga to leave the property. They couldn’t arrest him as they didn’t have a proper case at the time, but they could at least get him to stay away from his wife and their kids. Later on, during a phone conversation that Noela secretly recorded, Balanga confessed to everything.

A Not-So-Believable Excuse

In his defense, Balanga said that he’d planned the whole thing because he loved Noela so much. He said he felt very jealous and worried that she was seeing another man. So, he’d decided to have her killed because he couldn’t take the idea of seeing her with someone else.

Photograph of Balanga in the pool with a white tank top on.
Source: Facebook

Again, and again, he tried to trick her into believing his stories and forgiving her. But Noela’s mind was made up. She knew she could never trust this man again. She pressed charges and took it all the way to court. Balanga, of course, claimed to be innocent. When he was taken in for questioning, he started to deny everything, but Noela had a lot of evidence up her sleeve.

He Finally Owned Up

Balanga was a tough nut for the cops to crack. He spent hours and hours denying the crime. He said he had nothing to do with it. He claimed he’d never spoken to the men in Burundi. He argued that Noela was making the whole thing up just to get back at him and separate him from his children.

A man being interrogated by two male investigators.
Photo by Atstock Productions / Shutterstock.com

However, the cops knew all along that he was lying. They had the phone recordings that the kidnapper had given to Noela back in Burundi. They also had the phone recording in which Balanga confessed the crime to his wife. Halfway through the interrogation, they played the phone messages, and then Balanga knew he was done for. He broke down and confessed to the crime.

A Mystery That Lives Long in The Memory

To this day, nobody knows exactly why Balanga did what he did. Even when the officers asked him to explain himself, he couldn’t. He said that sometimes the devil gets into people and makes them do bad things, and that was the only explanation he could provide. Either way, after pleading guilty, he was sentenced to several years in prison.

Balanga and their daughter in a polka dot skirt, standing in the street.
Source: Instagram

Since then, Noela has tried to continue her life and be happy. She still has nightmares, however, of her husband’s voice saying “Kill her” and often thinks back to the time she spent with those armed kidnappers, only seconds away from the end of her life. She knows that it might take years to get over it all.

Another New Start

Noela is used to having to make fresh starts. She already began a new life after losing her first husband and moving to Australia. Then she started a new life with Balanga. After he went to prison, it was time for yet another new beginning. This time, it was particularly difficult.

The Supreme Court of Victoria.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Several members of the local community didn’t believe Noela. They thought that Balanga was innocent, even after he confessed, so they began to shun her and make her feel unwelcome. Still, with eight kids to provide for, she’s managed to stay strong through it all. She knows the truth of what happened, and she fights for her family every single day. She’s an inspiration for us all!