Lees jou gunsteling-tydskrifte en -koerante nou alles op een plek teen slegs R99 p.m. Word 'n intekenaar
Menings
PS: No low profile for this burial business

For a funeral service that puts many of its clients below ground, Avbob doesn’t believe in keeping a low profile.

It’s the only such company I know of that has taken out full-page ads to promote itself, having reached the great age of 100, which is more than most of the people who have required its dignified attention.

John Scott

Someone wavering about whom to entrust their very recently dear departed might presumably be impressed by so many years’ experience in the business. “If they’ve done it for 100 years they must have got the hang of it by now. Auntie Gertrude should be in good hands.”

A hundred years is indeed not to be sneezed at – one of the symptoms for which Avbob was apparently founded in 1918, to cope with all the deaths from the Spanish flu epidemic.

I never knew the origin of the name until I looked it up.

I always thought Avbod might have been more appropriate, short for “Ave bod, will bury” (or burn, as the case may be). But the initials stand for Afrikaanse Verbond Begrafnis Onderneming Beperk. The English might be rendered as Afrikaans Alliance Funeral Undertakings Limited, Aaful – too close to Awful for comfort.

Rather Afrikaans League etc. Alful. As many of the cemeteries in fact are. Such a name might encourage cremation.

But while still wondering what to do with Auntie Gertrude, a second thought might strike her loving nephew. Not only do full-page ads not come cheap, but these also list Avbob’s good works such as spending R150 million on a school upgrading project, sponsoring youth choirs and poetry competitions, and even helping township entrepreneurs to establish their own funeral undertakings.

The most appropriately-named undertakers were Human and Pitt. They had a parlour in Church Street, Wynberg, and either Mr Human or Mr Pitt would greet my Granny Scott and her umpteen sisters (Aunts Gert, Kit, Em, Ada and others, all immigrants from Leicester) when they walked past on their way to shop.

To top it all the company is allocating a R3,5 billion bonus to policy holders and members, which is fine if you’re a policy holder or member. Dealing with the dead is clearly a most profitable business.

Shouldn’t Auntie Gertrude rather be handed over to a company that doesn’t have so much cash to spare because it charges less but still treats her with the respect she deserves? So might the nephew ponder, if he took the trouble to read the entire page.

As long as he can be reassured that whatever other company he chooses doesn’t leave Gertrude lying around, and cremates someone else’s auntie by mistake. It happens. That is why some families like to offer the deceased for “viewing”, to satisfy everyone it’s the right auntie.

In common with the rest of us he will never be quite sure that the ashes he gets back are hers and must take the undertaker’s word for it. Ashes, after all, are ashes. Only a DNA test can tell them apart.

The most appropriately-named undertakers were Human and Pitt. They had a parlour in Church Street, Wynberg, and either Mr Human or Mr Pitt would greet my Granny Scott and her umpteen sisters (Aunts Gert, Kit, Em, Ada and others, all immigrants from Leicester) when they walked past on their way to shop.

“Are you all well?” he would inquire, and when they responded that they were, he would jocularly wag his finger at them and retort: “Ladies, you may linger but we’ll get you yet.”

He did, too. He was such a nice chap he deserved to have them, one by one.

  • johnvscott@mweb.co.za
MyStem: Het jy meer op die hart?

Stuur jou mening van 300 woorde of minder na MyStem@netwerk24.com en ons sal dit vir publikasie oorweeg. Onthou om jou naam en van, ‘n kop-en-skouers foto en jou dorp of stad in te sluit.

Ons kommentaarbeleid

Netwerk24 ondersteun ‘n intelligente, oop gesprek en waardeer sinvolle bydraes deur ons lesers. Lewer hier kommentaar wat relevant is tot die onderwerp van die artikel. Jou mening is vir ons belangrik en kan verdere menings of ondersoeke stimuleer. Geldige kritiek en meningsverskille is aanvaarbaar, maar hierdie is nie ‘n platform vir haatspraak of persoonlike aanvalle nie. Kommentaar wat irrelevant, onnodig aggressief of beledigend is, sal verwyder word. Lees ons volledige kommentaarbeleid hier

Stemme

Hallo, jy moet ingeteken wees of registreer om artikels te lees.