Residents and congregants assembled at Sada community hall during a candle light memorial day on Tuesday to honour those who passed away during the lockdown period.
Ward 25 councillor Lulama Rasimosi Sokuphe whose office had organised the gathering said it was difficult to show support to bereaved families due to lockdown restrictions after precautions were put in place regarding funeral practices. The idea of honouring those that had passed on had then come to light. “We had to comply because there was a large scale of Covid-19 transmissions in communities and we lost a lot of lives here in Sada. Today we have child-headed families because of this virus. As we are approaching the festive season, I am appealing to everyone to have a good time in a responsible way because the virus still exists.”
Rasimosi said various stakeholders who were part of the programme included Zwelonke, a group of women from various congregations who hold weekly sessions to pray for societal issues, and Sanda Funeral Home. She added that the funeral parlour had assisted three disadvantaged families with burial services in the area.
CEO of Sanda Funeral Home, Sandile Sanda said their role in the programme was to de-stigmatise the virus and to help families find closure. He indicated that they experienced a myriad of burials and had to employ more staff to deal with the challenge. “We are trying to educate people about the virus and help families grieve through the counselling support we provide. We are key role players as undertakers particularly during this time of the pandemic. We know people are not always prepared for the day when they have to bury their loved ones.
“We were asked by families through the ward councillor to assist them and we answered their call. Apart from being one of the most affordable companies when it comes to funeral services, we had to lend a helping hand without expecting anything from our side. I grew up in this area and I know the level of poverty and unemployment and that is why we had to intervene,” he said.
Nokhwezi Skwatsha, who lost a relative to the virus, said some of her family members could not attend proceedings due to restrictions. “My relative only survived three days and he passed away. I was fortunate to discover that I had tested negative but today I am here to pray for the infected and the affected.”
Bishop Phumlani Jaxa who was previously infected with the virus said he was there to bring a message of hope to community members. “The virus still exists and has mentally affected people in different forms. It can, however, be prevented because others have recovered from it.”