About ten days ago, some friends of mine's mother died. She was a dear,
unselfish person and I looked after her at Fairways as her daughters live in Australia and Ireland respectively. She had requested that she be cremated as she felt that it would be cheaper and less fuss than having a burial.
Her body was taken to a well known (I think the only) Funeral Services company who told me that as the crematorium in Harare was no longer functioning, her body would have to be taken to Mutare for cremation and that this would cost US$4000. The family were obviously shocked at this amount and asked for a breakdown. It seems that the cost to drive the body to Mutare is charged at a rate of US$2,50/km. - a totally exhorbitant and unrealistic figure and when queried, we were told that that was the rate and they were not prepared to negotiate.
Yes, we could have driven the body ourselves to Mutare as other people do, but felt that this would be too traumatic under the circumstances and that Moira would not have wanted her daughter to have to undertake such a trip.
In the end, her daughter came from Ireland and the decision was made to bury Moira at the new Glen Forest Memorial Park which is very pleasant and at half the price!
What would it take to put the Harare Crematorium back into action?
Surely this would be a better option than having people being ripped off by this unscrupulous company who have the advantage of catching people when they are most vulnerable?
When my father passed away 2 years ago we were placed in a similar position - however we were able to get assistance from the hindu community who were at that time allowing cremations at their crematorium at the Pioneer cemetary. We were the last non Hindu people allowed to have a cremation there as the municipality put a stop to it! it cost us very little money and the arrnagements were done quickly and with great compation.
We had an informal but dignified ceremony attended by some of his oldest friends.
I hope the photographs below will show what this was like. A sad but somewhat beautiful end.