A mix-up at a funeral service, with bodies being incorrectly identified, has left two families unable to complete proper burials for deceased family members.
The Duma family of Nyandezulu, KwaZulu-Natal, had planned to bury family matriarch and sangoma Sylvina Duma last Saturday.
But this could not take place as the body had “gone missing”.
Daughter Lindiwe Duma said her mother had died of diabetes at Gamalakhe Clinic and that Nyamezela Funeral Services had collected the body.
Her aunts then went to the funeral service to dress the body, but with the new Covid-19 regulations, could not do so, and left the clothes there before returning home.
On the day of the funeral, Lindiwe received a call from the funeral parlour asking her to describe what her mother was wearing.
She did so and the call ended.
The funeral service phoned again, this time giving them the news that her mother was “missing”.
“They suspected she had been given to another family and asked us to view other corpses in an effort to identify her. My uncles went, but my mother’s body was not there,” she said.
The next day it was discovered that her body might have been buried in Mhlabatshane, near St Faiths, by the Shezi family on Wednesday (27 January).
Nosipho Shezi said she had no idea it was Sylvina being buried, instead of her husband, Thulani.
“My husband’s nephews had identified his body at the parlour and confirmed it was him. I was shocked when the funeral service told me we had buried someone else.”
She now has to go through the grieving process of lighting a candle and sitting on her bed until her husband can be buried.
Nyamezela Dlamini of Nyamezela Funeral Services confirmed that there had been a mix up of bodies.
He said members of the Shezi family were shown Sylvina’s body and confirmed it as Thulani.
“As a result of Covid-19, people are scared to even come inside the parlour, but we cannot give a family a body without checking with them first. It’s unfortunate that they confirmed a wrong body,” he said.
Dlamini said the funeral service had followed all procedures and was now awaiting approval from the office of the MEC for health, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, so it could exhume the body in Mhlabatshane.
He said it was the first time he had encountered such an incident.
He pleaded with families to ensure they correctly identified the bodies of loved ones.
“We know they are scared but they must make sure that when they are confirming the body they look at it properly and confirm the right person. We depend on them as we don’t know all the people,” he said.
This article was republished from South Coast Herald with permission