SOUTH AFRICA: Shortage of graves to bury the dead hit cities

Finding a grave for the eternal rest of a human being is not always easy in South Africa.

The country’s cemeteries are scarce and so gravediggers have no choice but to sometimes bury the dead in existing graves.

45 to 60 graves are re-opened every week in Johannesburg.

“Since it’s a tomb that was already there, and it’s close to home, we thought it would be easier for us to make this tomb reopening, and then I won’t lie to you, it’s cheaper than making a new tomb”, said Puleng Sipamla, daughter of a deceased.

To resolve the problem, South Africans are beginning to look for alternatives. Some have proposed cremation but opinions are mixed.

“I think it would help if people understood why we have to turn to cremation, because we have a land problem. People cannot buy land, there are very few of them. There are many people coming in, many births and so forth, said Zoleka Sipamla, grand-daughter of a deceased.

Reverend Harold Ginya of the Church of Nazareth supports the use of existing graves.

We don’t believe in cremation. So I think these grave openings are a wonderful thing because no one will complain about being underneath. You’ll never hear them complain because they’re already dead”, he said.

Aside Johannesburg, other cities are facing shortage of graves to bury the dead. Some municipalities are not ruling out mandatory cremation.


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