When someone dies in South Africa there is a ritual of visitation for at least a week to pay respects to the dead. Each of these visits brings with it the supply of food and drink for visitors. On the eve of the funeral, the family will traditionally hold a vigil where visitors can once again come to pay respect. Depending on how popular the deceased was, this can be hundreds of people.One of the biggest funeral parlors will conduct a minimum of 40 funerals every Saturday so business is booming, so to speak.
Expensive caskets, catering for visitors, rental of chairs and tables and venues to hold vigils can squander most if not all life insurance payouts.
In South Africa, fashion and pride go hand in hand. People show up in bright oranges and yellows, with branded sunglasses and suits while arriving at the funeral in expensive cars to showcase their wealth. Once the funeral rites have been uttered, it is a fine feast next. Three to four courses is standard and then a drinks reception follows to give the deceased a fond farewell.