Funerals are still considered as very important and well attended occasion in the black
townships of South Africa. In the recent past, traditional African funerals practices have
affected a number of powerful and complex systems that have been interaction in Africa.
The three most important being traditional African cultures, modern Western culture and the
The study was conducted to establish factors that led to excessive funerals expenditures in
some black townships communities of South Africa, in order to create a pastoral response to
this phenomenon. The project was done in Ramatlabama village in the North West province
and also in Soweto in the province of Gauteng.
A qualitative methodological plan was followed allowing exclusive experiences to emerge.
Families, adults and young church groups, clergy, Bishop, Social group and a Funeral
undertaker , an in-depth qualitative analysis was employed in order to find the real reasons
that led to excessive funeral expenditure. The data collected and analyzed revealed that
factors such as impressing neighbors, meeting community and family expectation were the
reasons for the phenomenon. There were other external factors that contributed indirectly to
the practice and such as commercialization and politicization.
In order to address this practice that is making the poor more vulnerable, the Shepherding
Model of Gerkin’s and Pollard’s Theory of positive deconstruction was explored. It was
found that the Clergy needed to be helped to be aware of the fact that excessive funeral
expenditure requires a pastoral response with the right attitude and meaningful dialogues with
those affected. The pastoral care-giver with adequate knowledge and exposure to life of
pastoral care seeker will have a greater advantage to help most if not all families that usually
find themselves in this predicament or dilemma. The best way for the church to help the poor
families venture into the future, it’s by educating our communities on how not to spend
beyond their means.