The Burial or Cremation Debate

Here we will have a look at the burial or cremation debate

Why do people choose Cremation over Burial?

  • It is far cheaper. Cremation takes up limited or no space, depending on the way you wish to dispose of the ashes.
  • Burial land is running out in South Africa
  • Cremation removes the need to keep up with the Joneses with lavish burials
  • Generally, cremation is more eco-friendly
  • There are no transport costs. With burials, people want to come home to their burial place
    Certainly, burial in South Africa is possibly the most popular death-wish and is more common with Christians, Jewish, Islamic and traditional African faiths today.


Cremation is also cheaper, but having said that, it is irritating that the biggest names in the funeral industry –  Avbob, Doves and Martin’s – don’t publish prices for cremations, burials, products and services on their websites.

In the 21st century, the drawback with burials may well be the issue of space, but the cost is also a huge issue. Cremation is thousands of Rands cheaper than burial. The reason for this is that the body doesn’t require a cemetery plot or embalming.

Because costs are such a huge issue in South Africa, it has meant cremation being increasingly accepted by many, even with the Catholic Church. In the past, they always opposed the practice.

Burial or Cremation DebateDirect Cremation – the Most Economic

With a direct cremation, the body is cremated in the days immediately following death. It is the most economical option for disposition. A formal funeral service is avoided, though many choose to hold a memorial service. People choose this option because most of the costs of a traditional funeral are avoided

Custom and tradition for many in South Africa dictate that everyone have a sacred burial spot, but what if the 9 provinces are running out of burial land? Certainly, over the year different dispersal methods have been investigated.  Countless methods are practised worldwide, but some of these haven’t reached South Africa yet.

Lack of Ground Space the Problem

Because of the ever increasing demand for burial space, the provinces promise alternative methods for the disposal of the mortal remains of loved ones.

Some municipalities are even investigating existing cemeteries and the possibility of re-opening old, closed facilities that have been out of use for more than 10 years.  But this is easier said than done. The re-use of graves can’t be undertaken lightly, because historical-, religious- and cultural aspects need to be considered.

Education Sways Decisions – The Burial or Cremation Debate

People from all cultures who are more educated show an interest in cremation, and it is, therefore, important to educate people around burial and cremation so that they can make an informed choice.  Cremation also makes more sense when you think of how flexible it is when you compare to burials. Many South Africans are constantly on the move, and it can cost a fortune when they die, to get the body back to their home town or their family plot.

Circumstances May be the Dictator – The Burial or Cremation Debate

Burial or cremation? The choice is a personal one based on religion, tradition, culture and your own personal preference.

In South Africa, the burgeoning population growth and the lack of space may well dictate how people are disposed of. And with the lack of space and money, it appears that cremation wins hands down.


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All info was correct at time of publishing