Molebeleli Motsoeneng recalls the days when as a young child, he would spend his extra time helping out at the family business, Selemo Funeral Home. He intended to be an electrical engineer, but he quit studying to join his family business and today he is the director of the funeral home. Motsoeneng told Vutivi News that the business was started by his parents, Motskuoa and Puleng Motsoeneng, and his uncle and aunt, Benjamin and Susan Tladi.
Selemo Funeral Home was founded in 1999, and its first office was in Parys in the Free State. Motsoeneng said his family was able to set up the funeral home from profits his parents made from a company they started in the 90s called Mutual Ties and their retirement packages. Mutual Ties is a brokerage company that provides funeral policies. Motsoeneng said that his parents also started selling tombstones. “The business was started because my parents, who attended burial societies, saw a need for funeral and burial services to be rendered at a fair price for the members of the burial societies,” he said.
“My uncle and my aunt also invested in the business, and right up until when they died they were involved in the business, even though they had full-time jobs of their own. “For as long as I remember, there was always a funeral to go to and a coffin to deliver, and I started working at the business after school and during weekends. “When I got my licence, I started driving the business’ hearses and would accompany my parents to funerals and burials,” he also said.
The company now operates across the country, and its head office is in Vereeniging in Emfuleni. Motsoeneng told Vutivi News he was appointed as the company’s director in 2021. “I grew up understanding how important interacting with customers is, and how important knowing the customer’s needs and complaints is too,” he said. “Even after more than two decades of operating, some of the challenges are unavoidable. “These include having to organise a funeral during the rainy season, and finding that the graveyard is full of water, or that municipalities did not dig the graveyard in time, or sometimes finding ourselves in the middle of family conflict.”
Motsoeneng said that he was constantly inspired to do more with the business. “Our business survived two recessions and a pandemic, and that alone is a testament to the strength and resilience of the business,” the director said. “Now that the business is being headed by the new generation, we will be looking to take it in a new direction and introduce more dynamic ideas to keep the business relevant.” Motsoeneng’s siblings and cousins also work for the funeral home. He plans on enrolling in business administration and entrepreneurship courses so that the company can branch out to the southern African region in the next decade.