JOHANNESBURG – Ever wondered what the scariest thing to have ever crossed a human mind is? Generally, it’s the thought of death, but for the unprepared – the cost of death!
For Zimbabweans, especially those struggling in the Diaspora, nothing much separates the two. The thought of losing a loved one is as scary as dying itself because it exposes the abject poverty of both the dead and the mourning.
With at least R15,000 needed to repatriate a body from Johannesburg to Zimbabwe, the need to plan for a dignified funeral while the days are still bright cannot be overemphasized, moreso because most ordinary Zimbabweans in South Africa are struggling to make ends meet from the daily hustles and menial jobs some are doing. And usually, death catches many a family unawares.
But worry not; the solution is here. Trust UMthwakazi Funerals to wipe away your fears – and indeed, your tears.
Of much note is that the company’s name and operations have nothing to do with any political party or ideology.
“Our name has nothing to do with any political ideology,” says Jeffery Moyo, Umthwakazi Funerals’ (Pty) Ltd’s co-founder and co-director. “We are simply running a business and the choice of our name is indicative of who we are as a nation, our taking pride in who we are, just like Bavarian Motor Works (BMW), Soweto Beer, Manchester United and others. While taking pride in who they are, they are not limited to that in growing their brands. It should be noted that the name Mthwakazi is as old as the genesis our nation in what is now Zimbabwe and that has nothing to do with political parties founded about a decade ago.”
Headquartered in Johannesburg but with wings stretched all over Southern Africa, the new kid on the funeral services block has policies and terms strictly tailor-made for those who may struggle to raise the joining fees – and they are many.
“We realized that while people can afford to pay for their choice policies, many struggle to raise joining fees, which are higher than the monthly subscriptions, so we decided that we should allow potential members to join on credit and spread the joining fees over a period of six months,” adds Mr Moyo.
“Once someone signs joining forms, they can start to pay their monthly subscriptions, which are very much affordable for even those who are outside formal employment, while paying a portion of the joining fee simultaneously.”
The added advantage, not yet enjoyed by many other Zimbabwean-owned funeral services providers in South Africa, is the use of technological advancement to the advantage of policy holders.
“We realized that it does not make sense to invite people to come and register physically at the company’s offices. People have a lot to do with their little time and instead, we allow them to fill application forms via email, scan their required documents and send them to us for processing, after which we send them their membership number, which they then use as their references as they pay at their nearest bank branch or ATM machine. They can even utilize internet and cellphone bank at the convenience of their homes.”
At a time when the economy is hitting hard on Zimbabweans, the policy choices for those joining Umthwakazi Funerals are very much affordable – ranging from R60/month Easy Policy which covers up to 5 people to the R200/month Platinum Policy which benefits as many as 12 people.
“We have as many as five policies – Easy, Choice, Silver, Gold and Platinum, for people to choose from and for those already having policies with other providers, we have a cash-back option if they would prefer burial by somebody else. Our flexible deadline allows policy holders to pay any day before or on the 15th of each month, allowing even those who are self-employed maximum time to raise the money.”
The company also allows group membership for especially burial societies, who are allowed to register as a group and pay their monthly subscriptions as such. These are split into three – Contract working relationship; Collective group and Collective complete engagement choices.
“We also have a cash-back offer for clients who have not claimed any service after a period of three consecutive years and we have no age limit in any of our policies,” adds Mr Moyo.
Wish to Mourn With Dignity at Your Comfort Zone? Join Umthwakazi Funerals via call or WhatsApp: +27 78 305 0092/+27 73 290 9609.