Manual Dilemma in Durban

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The public did not grasp the scale of the problem, he said. The crisis has pushed officials to think creatively about how best to dispose of the dead. While recycling graves has helped ease the situation, cremation still faces significant resistance from African communities, which see it as unnatural and against tradition.

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At Roodepoort near Soweto, the Sipamla family buried year-old mother and grandmother Caroline Sipamla in the same grave as her son. Reverend Harold Ginya of the Church of the Nazarene encourages his worshippers to reuse graves - but discourages cremation.

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No one will complain that you are on top of me," he said. While many older people are opposed to cremation, the younger generation may prove more open. But the limited appeal of the crematorium has a lot to do with what some people associate with it: the fires of hell. Others opposed to cremation believe a bodily form is required to reach the afterlife - not ashes. Few black Africans are cremated in Durban, with just one a week on average compared to dozens of burials. During a recent campaign to raise awareness of the crisis, it became clear that some traditionalists in the port city were even sceptical of shared graves, said Mr Ngcobo.

One elderly man told officials he had never shared a bed with his daughter-in-law. The increasing land demands of the living could mean that cremation and grave recycling become mandatory, officials warn. The situation could be eased by a controversial constitutional amendment proposed by the government, which would allow the forcible transfer of land to redress the inequalities of apartheid and colonialism. Until then, desperate times are calling for desperate measures, including the possible boxing and storage of remains older than 30 years in the corner of existing graves.

Skip to main content. Grave dilemma: S African cities short of cemetery space. Mon, Dec 10, - AM.

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Workers digging a new grave at the Roodepoort cemetery in Johannesburg. One fellow with a wide grin holds up a sign that reads: "Wife stolen by ninjas. Need money for karate lessons. He and his mates regularly hit abandoned buildings and spray the streets clean with high-pressure hoses. Moola said modern day Fagans use the children to beg, others sexually abuse them and the rest fall victim to crime and drug abuse.

He heads one of the few charities with any success with street kids. One token is worth a sarmie, for example, two for a hot shower, three for a bed for the night, four for a change of clothes, five and somebody will help you enrol in a school or type up your CV.

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It is one of the best ideas to have come out of Durban and will be far more effective than the R2-million doled out by the city last year to soup kitchens. A newspaper last year established that it was a bit of a racket: some of the kitchens didn't even exist, while at others the gruel was really thin. George Orwell hung with the poor and the desperate. His empathetic description of their lot is documented inDown and Out in Paris and London. What is work?

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A navvy works by swinging a pick. An accountant works by adding up figures. A beggar works by standing out of doors in all weather getting varicose veins and chronic bronchitis.

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It is a trade like any other; quite useless, of course, but then, many reputable trades are quite useless. Few people chose a life on the streets,but giving to beggars keeps them enslaved to the streets.

But the five bucks I toss through the window to assuage my middle-class guilt doesn't really give them a hand up. I suppose I don't want them in my face, a constant reminder of society's failure, or my relative good fortune. If they have to be there, I want my five bucks and two minutes of charity well directed, not used on whoonga or cheap wine.

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Dilemma of the outstretched hand

Dilemma of the outstretched hand. His face is set in a grimace of self-pity and he crushes my heart. Friedrich Nietzsche was right.