Minnesota Farmer

Funeral SA style
August 14, 2014, 9:27 am
Filed under: church, Kwazamohkuhle, South Africa | Tags: , ,

There were two funerals on Saturday, the traditional day for funerals here in rural KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.  One was an over 80 year old woman, the other a 40 year old man.100_2772
Multiple pastors presided and each spoke a part of the service. The service lasts until the grave is almost ready.  The service may start with the church mostly empty, but as more people come it will fill. For this double funeral the hall was filled and many stood outside.  People, and pastors, would come and go as they wished.  Many stood outside.
One funeral had a 6 wheel Mercedes Wagon100_2773 and two vans for mourners. There was a large canopy100_2783 to sit under and a mechanical lift, that did not work, to lower the casket.
For the other funeral there was only a Mercedes van.  At both grave sites they ended up carrying the casket into the grave.
The digging of the grave starts in the morning.  It is dug by hand in the hard rocky soil here, if it is not dug by the time the funeral is over, people wait, preach and sing.
The procession walks to the grave site. In this case it was only a short walk down the road.100_2776
A  “beach” mat is placed at the bottom of the grave and the casket is lowered onto that. A duvet is placed over the casket and wood poles are placed around the casket. Another straw mat is placed over that and the hole is filled.  Singing continues until everyone leaves for lunch.


The cemetery was full of recent graves, both ornate and simple, depending on family finances.100_2781  

There is little for grass here, but what there is is clipped by sheep.100_2780

The cemetery has grown since I was here in 2011, but the people are the same.  There is a community of concerned people here to console those in grief and celebrate life every other day.  


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[…] center were we stayed was part of the Empangweni congregation.  This is the site of the double funeral I wrote about earlier.  This is the largest of the Ondini church buildings I was in.  There is a […]

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