Lenyene faces a grave dilemma

14 December 2017  Read: 67


Residents of Lenyenye have allegedly defied the municipal by-laws by building walls on the inside of the graves of their loved ones, and erecting headstones instead of the whole tombstone after they had buried a dearly departed. According to community members, placing coffins into the raw soil, without brick and mortar on the inside lining of the grave, was damaging the coffins of their loved ones.

Those who spoke to the Bulletin said they had contacted the municipal officials about the problem after realising that only a few months after burying their dead, the graves began to sink. One resident said they called a meeting in which the matter was put on the agenda and it was decided there, that something had to be done to remedy the situation.

A municipal operator who asked not to be named, said they had referred the matter to the local councillor who understood the plea of the community and from then on, residents began to prepare graves on their own.

The new Lenyenye cemetery was established about five years ago when the old one reached capacity and could not be used anymore. In the beginning a grader would dig, then municipal employees would work out the grave before burial. Residents were not allowed to build inside as was the norm in the past. They were told that only headstones will be put up and then the municipality will plant the lawns thereafter.

In rural villages, the cemeteries are managed by the traditional authority and when a death occurs, residents dig the graves themselves. Thereafter, they build the walls inside the grave and later install a full tombstone. But, in townships things are different. Here, residents report to the municipality and are issued with grave numbers. The municipal grader will dig the graves at a fixed fee.

The cemetery is situated in the bush between the Khujwana and Moime village, about four kilometres from the township. Other than the road that is redone frequently and the ablution facilities, there is no running water or security.  It happens often, that graves are trampled on by cattle resulting in the tombstones being damaged. The cemetery was established in 2010 with land offered by the Bakgaga traditional Authority.

Attempts to obtain comment from the municipality has drawn a blank but Bulletin has issued an enquiry to the spokesperson of the GTM.
— Monna Litaba  monna@bulletin.us.com



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