The Funeral Parlor Association of Botswana (FPAB) has announced that they have postponed indefinitely the professional undertaking course they were supposed to conduct with their American counter-part. The training was meant to instill its members with professional undertaking skills and empower participants with operational techniques as well as management skills.
In an interview with The Telegraph, the Association’s Chairperson, Bushie Mosala said they are currently preparing for the official launch. The head of the American Association, Dr Carroll Williams said they were not going to charge Batswana for the training which was supposed to take place end of August since they want to help them as ‘family’ members. The training would cover complex and critical funeral undertaking skills such as the embalming of corpses.
“We won’t charge them anything except the transportation, provision of suitable venue for training; accommodation and meals for the trainers. Botswana’s funeral undertaking industry is at its infancy stage. This reminds us of the struggle we went through in 1924 when we founded our Association,” explained Dr Williams. She said the White Americans were giving them a tough time, unwilling to accommodate African-Americans in their mortuaries, or even providing them with any needed training.
Quizzed on how they are going to raise funds for the training since they are struggling financially, FPAB leader Bushie Mosala said his association is going to approach the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) to seek sponsorship.
During a one day conference that the FPAB recently hosted at Sahara Lodge in Palapye, Mosala said the practice by the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) is a cause for concern as it was taking away their business.
“BOFEPUSU, a Federation similar to COSATU in South Africa is taking business away from us. The trade union’s members are, through the federation’s funeral policy, entitled to tents, chairs, coffins, pot; and a further P20 000, everything except for the hearses and mortuary service. Soon the union will be buying hearses and taking over the business,” he said. He said what is worrisome is the fact that the law is silent on what the responsibilities of mortuaries are.
In response to the accusations, BOFEPUSU’S Johnson Motshwarakgole said their intention is not and was never to take anyone’s business but to empower their members and give them dignified funerals. He said they are ready to discuss the way forward on the matter with association members.
“Our members are underpaid. So through Mokaulengwe program we freely give our members coffins as part of the funeral package. Other benefits include pots, tents and chairs. Our intention is to give our members dignified funerals. We have no intention of business competition. Our coffin service is standardised as we have eight types of good quality coffins for our members to choose from. This ensures that no one gets lower quality, which can be the case when they buy from expensive mortuaries,” he said.