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Bulawayo should have 1 grave for entire family to save space

11 Feb 2020 at 16:29hrs | Views
'By the time I die, I have no idea where I would be buried.'

Bulawayo councillors have proposed to offer free cremation services the residents amid a low uptake due to cultural and religious beliefs.

Cremation is the disposal of a dead person's body by burning it to ashes usually after a funeral ceremony.

The local authority, with a housing waiting list of about 115,000 applicants, has been faced with a huge demand for burial space with the city's cemeteries running out of space. As demand for housing continues to drive Bulawayo's growth into surrounding rural areas, the city is struggling to find enough space to bury its dead.

In 2018, councillors pushed for mandatory cremation of those under 25 years of age but the motion never received any traction.

Councillors have proposed incentives as part of measures to boost the uptake of cremation.

Bulawayo's efforts to make space for the dead mirrors its struggles to find affordable housing for the living.

I would propose that residents should consider utilising the same gravesite for the entire family if people do not want to be buried back in the village. This has the potential to increase burial space significantly and it will reduce the need for more cemeteries

Being buried in the same grave is more affordable‚ has huge cost-savings for ratepayers‚ is environmentally friendly and affords families a central point to pay tribute and conduct religious ceremonies if needed.

I know that my proposal will come up against long-held cultural and spiritual beliefs which will invoke the spirit of "ubuntu," the southern African philosophy that says a person is who they are because of their connectedness to all of humanity. I am well aware that Africans believe in the dual nature of human beings, the physical and the spiritual. Death to the Africans is not the end but a new beginning and so what the Africans want is to bring back the spirit (umbuyiso). The grave becomes important in that rite, however, considering the challenges the city is facing, double burial might be a solution.

Bulawayo is in the process of completing the required infrastructure at the two newly-gazetted cemeteries at Marvel Township and in Pumula South. The cemeteries have a capacity of 40 000 graves each and are likely to solve burial space problems for the near future.

The country's second-largest city has seven cemetery sites, namely Old Luveve, Luveve Extension, Luveve 3, Hyde Park, West Park, Lady Stanley and Athlone Avenue.

In 2016, West Park Cemetery was closed and residents were being referred to Luveve Cemetery for burials before the local authority extended West Park.

Source - Bazangenzani Khuzumoya
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