Funerals, Funeral Training - South African Churches

We are taking a look at funeral training and understanding how funerals are being held by the traditional churches in South Africa. We are not trying to tell anybody how they should be doing it, but rather trying to see how these funerals are already being held.

We ask the questions of what methods are used. What traditions are important at funerals? Are funerals held according to what the Bible says is right? Do funerals by the church keep the correct procedures at every funeral service, or are some funerals different? Do funeral parlours equip funeral staff with proper Funeral Training?

What do the churches believe?

The way traditional churches hold funerals today is mostly based on what they believe about death. In Africa people like to show respect to someone that has died.

There are different religious beliefs

1. Christians believe in eternal life with God. They believe that a person’s soul and mind does not die with their body.

2. Some African tribes believe that their dead fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers go to join their ancestors in the spirit world. From there they rule the people that are still alive through punishment when they do not keep their ancestors happy.

Other Africans became Christians and started African churches under the guidance of existing white Christian churches. They changed from traditional ancestor worship to Christian rituals because they believed that their own way of worship not adequate.

In order not to be seen as full of sin, they had to make their worship rituals like the western people, who were considered proper Christians. This meant that they led double lives: from Monday to Saturday they lived like Africans, but on Sundays they were Christians.

By being sad, crying and mourning at the grave and during the whole funeral service, they show their believe that one day in the future the souls of the dead will meet again with the people that stay behind now.