Funeral Service Providers

South Africa is a country embracing a diverse nation with different cultures and traditions. Read further for more on funeral service providers.

For these reasons, there are a wide variety of funeral service providers available to cater for the country’s multi-faceted religious groups.

This article strives to facilitate decision-making by comparing the various options available, including benefits and costs involved with burying a loved one.

Traditional funerals

Many black cultures believe that a cow represents a “bridge” between the living and the dead.

This act is performed as an appeasement to ancestors so that they can welcome a deceased family member into their realm.

The slaughter of a funeral cow is undertaken by a designated family member or high-ranking member of the society.

Certain protocols must be observed during this ritual.

Traditional funeral service providers

Service ProvidersOne of these traditional funeral service providers is Martin’s.

Based in Mpumalanga, Martin’s provides the family with a live head of cattle, enabling mourners to perform the funeral slaughtering ritual before the funeral service.

Martin’s offers funeral cover from R85 a month.

Two Mountains is another traditional funeral service provider

Based in Johannesburg, Two Mountains has seven funeral parlours and 36 branches throughout the country.

It also offers mourners a variety of funeral packages, including the provision of a hearse and vehicles to transport family members, printed programmes, a grave marker, floral displays, packets of sweets and bottles of juice and water.

It also supplies a tent, chairs, tables and portable toilets, as well as a PA system, video coverage and a slide show of the deceased.

Lebowa Funerals has branches throughout South Africa and offers funeral insurance cover from R60 a month.

Its services also include printed programmes, grave markers, a hearse and vehicles to transport family members, tents and chairs, floral arrangements and catering.

Jewish funeral service providers

Chevrah Kadisha is a Johannesburg-based Jewish welfare organisation and one of the best-known burial societies in the country.

The Chevrah Kadisha offers a service of reserving graves in proximity to immediate family at Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg. This service costs in the region of R4 500.

It also offers a grave maintenance repair service, known as Eternal Care. It’s of particular interest to family members who live overseas.

Muslim funeral service providers

South African Muslims have burial societies situated in Gauteng, throughout the Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

Traditionally, close family members are responsible for cleaning the body of the deceased and wrapping it in a white shroud before the body is lowered into the grave.

Muslims are not buried in a coffin unless stipulated by law.

In South Africa, bodies go to cemeteries in a coffin that is in a hearse.

At the graveside, the body is lifted out of the coffin and lowered into the grave.

They then wrap the body in a white calico biodegradable shroud.

Indian funeral service providers

Hindus believe in reincarnation.

Their religion states that the body is merely a temporary vessel, whereas the soul is everlasting.

Most funeral service providers arrange Hindu funerals.

Well-known funeral service providers

There are dozens of different funeral service providers throughout South Africa, here is a list of some:

Avbob

Since 1921 when Avbob was established in Bloemfontein, this funeral service provider has grown into a multi-million rand organisation.

Not only does it have a long and well-established record in the funeral industry, but Avbob also has 1.8 million people who subscribe to their funeral cover insurance policies.

AVBOB also takes care of all the practical problems of arranging a funeral and its services include:

  • Coffins or caskets from basic to top-of-the-range
  • Personal and professional funeral arrangement advice to families of the deceased
  • Transferring the deceased to funeral homes or mortuaries
  • Advice on the wording of funeral notices and arranging publication in selected print media
  • Arranging with florists for the provision of fresh flowers
  • Embalming
  • Provision of private family viewing facilities
  • Printing funeral pamphlets
  • Supplying grave equipment
  • Free telephonic grief counselling

 

Families can also request Avbob to provide additional services, such as:

  • Registering the death
  • Providing Memorial attendance books
  • Provision of Avbob-owned chapels, where available
  • Providing transportation for family members to the funeral
  • Arranging catering for after the funeral
  • Providing additional chairs and tents
  • Arranging payment of grave/cremation fees

 

Avbob provides funeral insurance cover from as little as R37 a month.

Doves

The Doves funeral directing organisation was established in Durban in 1883.

So today, the Doves Group is one of the largest role-players in the South African funeral industry, with 160 branches in all provinces throughout the country.

Its services include:

  • Embalming
  • Exhumations
  • Providing cremation and chapel facilities
  • Repatriation of bodies both nationally and internationally

 

Also, Union Life underwrites the Doves Group funeral insurance plans.

Other providers

As mentioned earlier, there are dozens of funeral service providers from which to choose, but among the less well-known but well-established are:

  • Discrete Burial Services – based in Cape Town, offers both individual and group funeral policies
  • 21st Century Life

 

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