By: Tebogo Mokwena
Digging graves and helping prepare funerals are essential parts of servicing a community, according to funeral services company owner Karabo Motshwane. He started DiphiriDotCom in 2015, but it became an essential service during the Covid-19 pandemic, which claimed many lives. Motshwane told Vutivi News that he started his business when he went to a funeral and saw how they needed services such as digging graves.
“I attended the funeral of my father-in-law in Lebowakgomo in Polokwane, Limpopo, and there was a delay in digging the grave,” he said. “I was prepared to pay for professional gravediggers, but I found that there was none. “I saw the need to organise and formalise graveyard diggers and add a few other services and create a company.” Motshwane, who is from Hammanskraal in Soshanguve, operates his business in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and the North West.
He said that when he started out, it was difficult to convince people to pay for services they normally got for free. “I had my work cut out for me in changing the mentality,” Motshwane said. “Instead of having just grave digging where the family members have to (dig the) grave as per tradition, we have professional grave diggers, professional slaughterers, and machinery as well as people equipped to assist at the funeral,” he said. “We employ 39 people on a contractual basis, and also work with funeral parlors.”
Motshwane told Vutivi News that once people got used to the idea, they asked for his services regularly. “During Covid lockdown, my business was thriving,” he said. “There were funerals during the week and also during the weekends, and it was more than enough to keep my business busy during the Covid-19 lockdown,” Motshwane said that helping create jobs was his greatest achievement.
“The biggest achievement for me is being able to take young people who cannot provide for their families and give them the opportunity to do so,” he said. “By me running this business, I am in a sense giving back to the community because the business takes money from the community and gives it back through employing its youth,” Motshwane said that his plan was to extend his business to the rest of the provinces in the next five years.