Masvingo City Council has run out of space for graves and the local authority is approaching the government for more land.
The city is home to Mangwandi Cemetery near Rhodene, Pioneer Cemetery on the outskirts of the City and Lone cemetery along Mutare Road.
In an interview with Open Council Acting Town Clerk, Edward Mukaratirwa said the council is running out of burial space and soon it won’t be accommodating more bodies.
“We are running out of grave space and council has since applied for more land from the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Ministry,” said Mukaratirwa.
“We need about seven hectares of land to set up a new Cemetery as the three existing ones are now full and cannot accommodate more burials.
“The situation is dire that we appeal to the powers that to treat our application as a matter of urgency,” he said.
He said the issue of burial space was discussed at full council level and city fathers expressed concern over cemeteries that can no longer accommodate more graves.
“Mangwandi Cemetery can no longer accommodate more graves as we speak as the existing space is now overwhelmed. We are entertaining ideas of decommissioning it so that a new Cemetery is established at yet to be identified site.
“The land is there but we should get approval from the Ministry is responsible. Lone Cemetery along Mutare Road and Pioneer Cemetery in town can still accommodate more burials but in no time they will also run out of space,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Councillor Wellington Mahwende said some councillors had suggested recommending cremation for the bereaved families citing the running out of burial space.
“Cremation is not common in Zimbabwe but if we run out of grave space these are some of the things that we are supposed to consider. I know it’s a process to have cremation approved but as a council, we can have mandatory cremation for specific ages of people, say children under 12 when they die,” said Clr Mahwende.
However, traditional doctors in Masvingo are opposed to cremation saying it was not African.
A traditional healer, Dr Hwesa Manakejena said the Africans were not supposed to be cremated under any circumstances.
“Cremating bodies of dead people in Africa is taboo. Anyone who dies, in our culture, deserves decent burial and cremation is alien, we cannot practice it even when burial space runs out. My advice is for people to be buried at their rural areas,” said Dr Manakejena.