Why The Transport of Bodies of so Many People Back to Zimbabwe Each Month

Zimbabweans living in South Africa die of a host of different illnesses, and many die because of violence. About 400 of them are repatriated to Zimbabwe each month. But the numbers could be higher as some of them actually get buried in South Africa without the consulates knowledge. So why the transport of bodies of so many people back to Zimbabwe each month?

  1. Funeral parlours offer cross-border repatriation of mortal remains
  2. You can choose road- or air transport
  3. There are thousands of Zimbabweans dying in South Africa
  4. These Zimbabweans want a burial in their homeland
  5. Repatriation services are part of some funeral policies – make sure its part of your one

President Emerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, when he appeals to Zimbabweans living in South Africa to return home and invest in their own country. He didn’t quite mean that they arrive in hordes in coffins. And yet this is the reality, as repatriation is important for many families in Zimbabwe.

Death and Repatriation BIG Business – Transport of Bodies

Transport of Bodies

They believe that their relatives who have died in South Africa need to be buried in their homeland. Unfortunately, funerals and repatriation are big business. And as thousands of Zimbabweans live outside their native country, repatriation costs are rising dramatically.

It is unbelievable that there are some 4 million Zimbabweans living abroad. This is according to the International Organization for Migration. Many people have seen the possibility of doing good business in this field. So body repatriation is a massive business today, especially as for Zimbabweans, they see it as a priority to bring their dead loved ones back home.

You have to have a big amount of money set aside if you want a body repatriated back to Zimbabwe. For many Zimbabweans its a case of finding the money from somewhere, even if it means approaching church members to help out financially.

A Repatriation Package – Transport of Bodies

Doves are one of South Africa’s larger funeral service companies and they have seen an upsurge in repatriation recently, and this doesn’t only include bodies from South Africa but from as far afield as the UK and the United States. In the UK for instance, they know that the legal- and regulatory complexities of repatriations can be overwhelming and they offer a number of services which include the likes of –

  • getting all the necessary documents together
  • advising on all aspects of repatriation as regards to the UK- and Zimbabwean authorities
    preparation of the deceased
  • provision of a metal casket which conforms to international transportation regulations
  • 24/7 access to a Repatriation Progress Tracking Tool



With such services, it needn’t become a logistics nightmare. The trouble also comes in when people have invested in funeral insurance, but this insurance doesn’t include repatriation services. They measure the costs of repatriation services distance, the hearse as well as the type of coffin. Some people opt for road repatriation services while others are prepared to part with more money and have the deceased repatriated by air.

To cater for the demand for repatriation, a number of businesses have opened, carrying bodies across borders and into countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania among others. Prices range depending on a number of factors but you can be looking at anything in the region of R12 000 to R50 000.

While it remains taboo in the African culture to bury your kin in a foreign country. This remains a very necessary and lucrative business to be in.

Zimbabweans are going to enormous lengths to repatriate their loved one so as to also avoid spiritual, ancestral and cultural problems.

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All info was correct at time of publishing