The funeral industry says there’s a growing trend of special requests for luxury funerals. It says funerals are seemingly no longer about just a sombre farewell, but are about making a statement and a memory that will linger in people’s minds for years to come.

It appears people are not too shy to splash hundreds of thousands of Rands on that final goodbye to their loved ones.

If you look at the Nasrec Memorial Park, it looks like a golf course; rolling hills, dams, streams, the chapel, which is surrounded with water that illustrates that old feeling of the castles.

Group CEO of Calgro, Wikus Lategan, says that the more space you require then the more money you have to pay.

“So, a grave with the view of the dam will cost you a lot more money. So, if you are next to the dam there’s a lot more open space. You can put a bench next to the grave. The more space you require the more you pay. We see more and more the need for family burial estate; the whole family will be buried together and that’s where the family can come back to again.”

Each grave costs anything between R10 000 and R360 000 in Johannesburg.

CEO of Nduduzo Life Funeral Parlour in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, Phumlani Njilo says the parlour prides itself with doing bespoke funerals.

“What the client wants the client gets. So, obviously, I’d start with a coffin, provide an import dome … that’s one of our luxury domes, caskets and obviously, the church set up, flower arrangements, red carpet, deco, draping.”

He says they’ve done funerals for struggle heroes and high profile members of society who are particular with their requests.

“We go all out when it comes to the transportation. So, when it comes to the part of transporting the body to the cemetery, we’d use our luxury hearses or sometimes we use a helicopter. I know times have changed now, people actually want the best.”

The tombstone is the last statement to the final resting place, where people spend anything from R4 000 to R350 000 for a tombstone.

According to TS Memorials CEO, Sabelo Malinga, some people can pay up to R1 million for tombstones.

“They said, ‘this man really loved his car. So, please make a tombstone of a car with the deceased inside.’ Within three days we did it. They were very excited. That’s the tombstone that’s been a highlight and really made an impression, but there’s been many, many more.”