By Auxilia Katongomara
Bulawayo’s first private cemetery with a capacity of 50 000 graves has been opened in a move that is set to ease shortage of burial space in the city.
Each grave costs $120 at the new facility, Umvutcha Park Cemetery, which is located about nine kilometres from the city centre in an area between Sauerstown and Helensvale suburbs.
Umvutcha Park Cemetery director, Mrs Elizabeth du Bois, said the idea of a new cemetery came after they realised the need for more burial space in the city.
“We had the vacant property and heard the need for this venture as the council has been saying the cemetery was filling up fast and there was a need for a new area.
“On a 50 acre plot, it has the capacity to accommodate approximately 50 000 graves, should they be single, double or family plots; or should you wish to have a specially allocated area to accommodate your loved ones, this too could be considered,” said Mrs du Bois.
She said the cemetery was affordable to anyone wishing to use the facility as it costs only $120 per grave not $5 000 as previously reported. Mrs Du Bois said Umvutcha Park Cemetery was very secure.
“This estate is fenced and gated with 24-hour security. A large parking area is located within the grounds for your convenience too.
“There is a large hall which seats approximately 150 people; to be let for church services, wakes, meetings or other functions. It has an adjoining ablution facility and office,” said Mrs Du Bois.
“Within the complex area is a separate ablution block to facilitate those not using the hall. In future we plan for a new crematorium, manufacture of our own tombstones to keep unity throughout the park and provision of flowers for the occasion”.
Mrs Du Bois said they were working closely with all registered funeral parlours.
The cemetery comes at a time when Bulawayo was facing a shortage of burial space following the closure of West Park Cemetery in June last year. All residents were now being referred to Luveve Cemetery for burials.
Before the closure of West Park cemetery, council had reduced burials to 10 per day and moved all burials of children to Luveve, before West Park was then re-opened in December last year after council decided to utilise a piece of land that had been reserved for use by funeral parlours. The piece of land has burial space that would last for about two years.
Other cemeteries are set to be opened in Marvel Township and Pumula South suburb. Prices for graves at city council cemeteries range between $47 and $92. The Chronicle