football and funerals

Thinking of adding a new category for some of my posts, lessons from South Africa for the reason that a large part of the blog was about moving towns and coming back to school and integrating into both spaces. My greater focus was on the academic bit of things really and not much about the society and the culture.  I suppose with school done I am now forced to broaden my take on things.

I remember the first advert I ever saw about funeral cover and how the first few times it was not immediately clear to me the very nature of the product being sold. It turns out that in this country, you can make monthly contributions to some very prominent and financially robust companies (except for that football team that also provides these benefits!) with the understanding that they pay out at your death to cover funeral expenses as well as provide you with different benefits. These range from cash back given on contributions made, payment of funeral expenses (note: NOT medical bills or expenses), financial support to living beneficiaries for a stipulated period.  Now juxtapose this with Uganda where people are buried a day or two, at most, after death. What with the lack of mortuary facilities and really, the person is dead, what more? It is also interesting to note that you can begin to make contributions any time from 18 until 64 and thereafter, I suppose your chances of dying increase enormously that no one would take you on. Once you start making these payments though, you can continue until the day you pass away, whether at 70 or 99. Prices on these premiums range from R20 per month to a “steeper” R80. It was also interesting that most of these benefits are open to locals, or foreigners with permanent residency arrangements in place. I don’t know, I just thought it all bizarre then, now, it’s fairly normal and I never ask myself what, what, what? Or bat an eyelid at a funeral society (chama) formed to specifically raise funds and pay out in the event of a members or a dependants death. Mhhh… how time changes us all!


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