KALKRAND – Digging a grave for a deceased family member is one of the pains faced by many families in Kalkrand as they are unable to afford the burial service fees charged by the village council.
Bereaved families in the village have resorted to employing local men to dig graves which take up to two weeks to dig as the graveyard is situated in a very rocky area. The men charge between N$300 and N$400 while the village council charges N$826 to dig a grave.
Samuel Gariseb, a Kalkrand resident who recently lost his mother, says the costs of burying a loved one has become too costly and the rocky sand terrain in Kalkrand makes the digging of graves difficult.
“My mom’s grave was only dug to 4.5 feet, the diggers could not continue any further. On the day of the burial we had to put extra sand into the grave to level the casket as it was skew due to the rocks. We also had to put a lot of stones onto the grave to prevent animals from digging out the casket. I really felt bad because this was my mother’s grave,” narrated a sombre Gariseb.
One of the grave diggers, Johnny Kamberipa said it is very difficult to dig graves as they use makeshift material to dig and it takes them up to two weeks to dig one grave.
“We are supposed to dig up to 6 feet underground but because the rock is so hard most of the time we only dig up to 4 feet underground because it is very difficult to break the rocks with the equipment we use but we have created employment for ourselves.”
Kamberipa and two of his friends saw the opportunity and started rendering their grave digging services at affordable rates to the locals in the village two years ago.
“People come to us and we charge them between 300 and 400 Namibia dollars. It is not easy to dig into the rocks but it provides us with work opportunity every two months or so,” said Kamberipa.
CEO of the Kalkrand village council Ruben Sitanga says it is unfortunate that unemployment is a major factor and that locals are threfore unable to afford the burial services offered by the council.
An employee at the council however said the last time burial services were provided by the council was in 2017. The CEO could not confirm nor deny the statement.
By Lorato Khobetsi-Slinger and Treasure Kauzuu