Community News

Accolade to an undertaker

Losing a family member to death is always a bad experience, which we as a family recently experienced when our brother, husband and father died in Graskop on 20 March 2020.

Having been notified in a very professional manner by the Graskop police at midnight, whilst residing in Cape Town and Centurion immediately raises the question – how does one even begin to untangle the intricate logistics of this situation. His body was kept in a state mortuary in Bosbokrand.

Via a family friend, we have been put in contact with Mr Johan van der Merwe of Tswelopele Funerals. Johan does not know us and neither do we know him, but in spite thereof (and being a business to run) he offered his assistance including a very reasonable quotation to transport the body, take care of the cremation in Middelburg and delivering the remains in Centurion, which we gladly accepted.

Notwithstanding, there was much more to be done in the form of all paperwork, death certificate and identification of the body etc. We had absolutely no idea where to start and what to do. Johan offered the personal assistance of one of his personnel, introduced as Chris (from the Graskop branch) to assist us. Although we have not been able to meet Johan personally he was on telephonic standby all day!

With the nationwide lockdown eminent there was very little time to do what had to be done. Leaving Centurion early morning we arrived in Graskop at 11h00 on 24 March, where a very professional, understanding and well-informed Chris awaited us. He was literally a private guide to us for the day, taking us through their paperwork, to the local police station, to the state mortuary in Bosbokrand, body identification, more forms, then to the local Home Affairs office and back to the local police to collect the deceased’s motorcycle and other personal effects. We left Graskop the same day around 16h00 with all paperwork done and with the necessary death certificate and permission for burial! Where ever we went that day, it was clear that Chris was known and respected and that helped an immense deal. Officials which we had to deal with were professional and compassionate, never even hinting at bribes etc. – this needs to be said as well!

Albeit never a pleasant experience, it could have been much and much worse if it was not for the compassion, and assistance of Johan van der Merwe and Chris of Tswelopele Funerals, whose assistance was just amazing lifting our spirit in such trying times. With this ode, we as a family want to express and make known our sincere appreciation of Johan and Chris from Tswelopele Funerals and their outstanding service to us on 24 March 2020. It indicates that for some people business is not only about making profit and money – it is also about understanding the needs of people and going the extra mile. Thanks, Johan and Chris! – This comes from our hearts! (Theo and Johan on behalf of the Rebel family.)


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