Grave de­lay in Ka­roo vil­lage

Weekend Witness - - News -

CAPE TOWN — In Wol­we­fontein — a lan­guish­ing Ka­roo rail­way vil­lage — it would be best to give a month’s no­tice be­fore one dies.

Fail­ure to do so could mean you will not have a grave, be­cause that is the length of time it takes to bore through the hard stone stra­tum barely half a me­tre into the ground.

This is ex­actly what hap­pened to Zen­zile Al­win Ngqeza (86). No grave was avail­able and none could be dug quickly.

So, he was even­tu­ally laid to rest in the al­ready-pre­pared grave of granny Ger­tie Petersen (101), right next to the grave of her dead hus­band Hen­drik.

Granny Ger­tie be­lieves the grave is still hers. “I’m go­ing to lie with Hen­drik,” she says softly and smiles.

“We de­cided rather not to tell her,” ex­plains a neigh­bour, Marie Jansen.

A farm­ing cou­ple, Harry and Louise Wat­son, do­nated the land to the com­mu­nity about five years ago be­cause Wol­we­fontein did not have its own grave­yard. How­ever, the grave drilling fell be­hind be­cause Wol­we­fontein has since been in­cluded in the Ik­wezi mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Jansen be­lieves.

“But we have al­ready spo­ken to Ik­wezi. They are go­ing to con­tinue with it. Of course one can’t give a month’s no­tice of one’s own death.” — Sapa.

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