Masekwameng Funeral Consultants


Living with Death

By Mafcons on 23 Jul 2018 | Grief

Working in a funeral parlour is …interesting! In our social circles people ask how we can be normal while living with the haunting presence of death every day. Most of our team at Mafcons grew up in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria. Any one of us will tell you that undertakers were viewed with a sense of cautious mystery. We used to make up all sorts of stories about how crazy they were, and how they used to speak to corpses and worked in a ‘fridge’ (cold room). Mafcons founder, Barnabas Masekwameng developed an interest in funeral planning as his understanding of life and death grew with age.  My father’s passing stands out as the point where I started paying attention to the process of funerals. I remember how the undertaker handled everything with care and how dignified and meticulous they were. It was soothing. I realized that while they focused on executing the logistics, how they carried themselves went a long way toward how I would remember saying farewell to my loved one. I was intrigued. I had also witnessed how some funeral parlours dealt with grieving families carelessly, only focusing on the profit they would make – and it got to me!
  • Barnabas Masekwameng
Grieving families are central to Mafcons’ business philosophy. For us, dealing with death daily is not about fear.  Our work revolves completely around the ones that are left behind and making the process of final goodbyes as easy as possible on them. It is also important for us to protect the dignity of the deceased, and our processes in this area are strict and non-negotiable. We work with an awareness that every corpse was somebody’s loved one, and we treat them as such. We are also awake to the fact that our role in the final farewell will play a part in how remaining loved ones remember the one who has passed on. Look, there is no avoiding it:  The physical manifestation of death (a corpse) can be frightening. Many families are afraid. Not just at the idea of a loved one being no more – but of actually seeing the body. We strive to cushion this experience from the way we prepare the deceased, to the surroundings in our premises. “We structure our work and methods to start the path to healing for grieving families” This healing is not just for them, but for us too. To say this is a job we enjoy would be strange…but it is rewarding to assist people through a very difficult process. More than anything, it is a calling. Funeral directors are human too. Every loss of life has impact and can take its toll. We spend time with people that are in pain every day and it can be taxing. Some cases are exceptionally difficult. The death of a child, a young mother, a bread winner – it is impossible not to be moved.  Some in the industry choose a detached approach to remain professional. This makes sense. If you get too close sometimes, it can be overwhelming and this sometimes prevents us from giving our best service. We must, however always remember that how we handle hurting people that seek our service can add to or ease their trauma. It is important to balance the professionalism with a warm touch. Sometimes we cry too. Sometimes, funny situations arise. We deal with some amusing characters or families that remember their loved ones through laughter. But more than anything, working around death is a constant reminder to embrace life. Here are a few tips for people like us (and paramedics, medical professionals, even ministers)

  • Debrief! Talk as a team/ to someone trusted/professional – especially after dealing with a difficult case
  • Find an outlet. An unrelated (maybe outdoor) hobby to give your mind and body a rest
  • Continually remind yourself why you are here
  • Sometimes people will take their frustrations out on you – it’s ok.
  • Live! You live with a constant reminder of the opposite

We’d like to officially welcome you to our blog! This is where we’ll share our thoughts on issues related to our industry, and give tips on how to navigate funerals –  from planning to cost saving. Talk to us! We’d love to hear from you too. You can leave a comment and follow our social media accounts for more.


  • Khotso says:

    This is a good read. I could relate after the death of my grandparents who raised me while my mother was still studying. I realized that it takes effort, time, prayer & faith at times to overcome this or look beyond just the loss. Thank you for this & I will be visiting for new topics.

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