South Africans have witnessed colourful vibes at funeral proceedings. Picture: Pexels / Mike
South Africans have witnessed colourful vibes at funeral proceedings. Picture: Pexels / Mike

Twerking at a funeral? Inside the bizarre world of SA's burial rituals

By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article published Aug 3, 2021

Share this article:

As the saying goes ‘there is a time and a place for everything’ and South Africans have over the years proven that funerals are sometimes the best times for them to fully express themselves.

This was the case recently when popular Pretoria stripper Mduduzi “Cardbury” Zwane was buried. Zwane was gunned down in Atteridgeville last week and had a very unique send off.

The videos of the proceedings started trending on social media, showing male and female exotic dancers dancing and gyrating in celebration of Zwane’s life.

This is not the first time and possibly not the last time that South Africans will witness colourful vibes at funeral proceedings.

Here we take a look at the more unusual world of SA's funeral rituals.

Underworld bosses burials

When it comes to alleged gangsters and underworld bosses, you can guarantee they will have a colourful send-off where anything could happen. In many of the funeral proceedings, it's not unusual for gunshots to be fired when the coffin is being lowered into the grave.

On the Cape Flats in Cape Town it’s also common practice for the coffin to be paraded in the streets and even at local sports grounds so that the entire community can pay their respects.

While a flashy hearse is always on standby you can rely on someone to get behind the wheel of their car and take several spins around the hearse, much to the delight of the cheering crowds.

Fake mourners

Mourning, especially in African traditions, is an important part of funerals. But sometimes, people find themselves without mourners. There are now groups of professional mourners who you can hire for the day who will cry on cue through the funeral proceedings.

They will add a tearful atmosphere at the graveside and set the tone for family and friends to shed a tear. You can arrange with them when to cry and how to express their sadness at the loss of your loved one.

The funeral tour

While one day is set aside to say goodbye to your loved one, you might choose every minute and every hour of the day to bid farewell. With the coffin comfortably loaded into the hearse you can do a tour around town or even just the neighbourhood.

At every stop you can arrange for a different activity to take place. At one stop people might be given flowers to throw at the hearse, at another they might want to play upbeat music and dance, this is what the tour is all about - a different vibe at every stop.

Funeral twerkers

A video featuring a group of young women twerking alongside a friend’s open grave in Soshanguve once went viral. The video showed the women, wearing matching skintight dresses, twerking, dancing and kicking their legs up in the air. Loud music is blaring and other attendees are cheering them on. Whether that is a trend continues to be a mystery.

No matter what you do when you say goodbye to your loved one, just remember that right now we are in the midst of a pandemic and there are no hard and fast rules at funerals.

Capacity has already been minimised so allow the few invited guests at the funeral to express themselves however they might need to, whether that means a striptease, a dance or even a twerk - don’t judge.

Share this article: