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“OUR intention is not to live on the dead but to provide a service to people,” says JZ Funeral Services proprietor, Mr. Justine Zulu.

He was responding to the observation by some people that coffin dealers and operators of funeral service companies would like to see more people die so that they could make money off them.

But Mr. Zulu says “Yes, it’s true, ours is a business and at the end of the day we have to make a profit. But it is a wrong perception for people to think we enjoy seeing other people die,”

“It is not the death that we enjoy but helping people cope with the experience of death,” he stated.

He urged people to dispel the myth that coffin dealers, mortuary attendants and operators of funeral parlours, are Satanists.

“I sometimes fail to visit my sick friends in hospital because of that. Some people think I have just gone there to make sure they die, so I make business,” he lamented.

Mr. Zulu said, “And sometimes when people see a person like me, drive an expensive car, they think it’s because I am satanic but that’s not the case because we are simply people like everyone else.”

He explained that the interest of coffin dealers and funeral service operators is to help people give their deceased loved ones a befitting send-off.

He said it was for this reason the companies dealt in different types of coffins so that all people of different financial statuses are catered for.

“There are coffins for as low as K400 for instance, for those who do not have enough money,” he stated.

He said his coffin making company has also, during its four years of operation, been able to help people whose relatives died at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) but they were unable to afford buying a coffin or find transport to go and bury the corpse due to lack of money.

“People come here carrying dead bodies wrapped in fitenges because they have no money to buy a coffin. We have been able to give them coffins,” said Mr. Zulu who indicated his company has also helped other people transport bodies to other countries like Zimbabwe almost for free.

“We have also given our vehicles – for free – to people to go and bury their dead. All we asked them to do is to simply put in fuel,” he said.

Mr. Zulu, who is also spokesperson of the Coffin Dealers and Funeral Parlour Operators, also disclosed that they plan to form an association to promote the interests and welfare of the local funeral industry.

“The name has already been cleared, and we are most likely to complete the registration processes by end of February,” he said.

“We would like to ensure companies operating in the industry observe standards,” Mr. Zulu said.


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