As the coronavirus tightened its grip on the country and with strict burial regulations in place, the Johannesburg-based funeral parlor, Thom Kight & Company, like many others, have had to adapt to ensure it can continue helping families say their final goodbyes to their loved ones in an empathetic way.
Neil Keight, owner of the nearly 40 year old family-run business, says Covid-19 has forced them to adapt in the way they deal with those who have died, with extra precautions taken especially in keeping their staff safe. If COVID-19 is proven or even suspected, the personal protection must include the use of body bags with their exterior disinfected, amongst other stringent measures.
Gary Van Biljon, who has worked as an undertaker at the funeral parlor for 21 years, says he continues to aim to do his best for the families of those who have died from Covid-19. Dignity is very important to him, with his personal touch being to put a single rose on top of the cadavers. For Van Biljon, dealing with children is the hardest. “The biggest skill an undertaker can have is compassion. You can’t do it if you don’t have compassion.