Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Local undertakers tighten grip on money-spinning industry

“I got a birthday card from the mortuary and I am not impressed. They only want me for my body.” Well, isn’t that the suspicion we all get when we receive a nice token of appreciation from the undertakers?

This past Wednesday the Funeral Parlours Association of Botswana (FPAB) pledged their commitment to giving the nation the best service available in the market. Addressing the media at Masa Square Hotel, FPAB President Bushie Mosala, said by enriching the industry they were creating employment opportunities and new avenues of empowerment for citizens and providing the much-needed support in these difficult economic challenges.

“To us this is passion,” he said. “Our role is to limit the bereaved’s pain while we make lasting memories in our final farewell. With our passion we are envisaging building an industry in the truest sense of the word.”

Mosala said the association was at advanced stage in ensuring the right instruments are used across their various practitioners. He said they would expose their members to some of the best crafts the market has ever seen. He said the association would bring the latest methods because they tap into a large pool of resources and ideas not just in the region but from around the world. 

“We have perfected our craft such that basics like paperwork, body preparation, body expatriation and the funeral itself together with a wide variety of hardware that come with it are not necessarily the only focus of what we are about.”

Mosala said the association recently undertook a benchmarking exercise to the US where they learnt valuable lessons about the business. One of their observation was that parlours there own parks and chunks of land they use for numerous crafts around their practice.

“Whilst we excel at what we do, our knowledge and exposure has propelled us to envision what we can do in our market to continuously improve how we preserve memories of our loved ones and how we ensure dignity in line with our beliefs as Batswana,” he said.

He said the industry was one of the few in the African context where third and fourth generations continue the family business. With over 30 companies or parlours represented by FPAB, many of which have several branches nationwide, the association covers almost every part of the country.

Mosala said through the association’s global alliance and exchange programmes they had introduced new crafts such as embalming. “To simplify this for non-practitioners, there are new methods whose history can be traced back to the ancient times in Egypt with the preservation of Pharaohs,” Mosala said, adding that there were new abilities to treat a body to an extent it looks closer to life.”

He said in many developed countries such as the US refrigeration as a method of preserving the dead, was no longer a core craft but rather a part in the process of embalming.

FPAB had invited their South African counterpart, South African Funeral Parlours’ Association (SAFPA), whose District 12 Governor Page Boikanyo, spoke of the vast global network, which acts as support for all sister associations.

“We have access to a large pool of resources and ideas not just in the region but globally. Recently our trip to the US and many other parts of the globe has enabled bilateral agreements designed to promote skills transfer, up-skilling, new developments and trends within our industry. We are the coalition of the future and we are pleased to be witnesses of the growth of our members,” Boikanyo said.

FPAB also announced their strategic partnership with BOSETU which will see the union’s members have access to the body’s product offerings across the country.

“We welcome the deal because it has the right infrastructure for the benefit of our members. When we are dealing with the industry itself it makes for better convenience for our members,” said BOSETU CEO Othata Batsetswe.

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