Joe Mafela’s Tombstone Returned To Burial Site: Creators Explain Why The Masterpiece Was Taken Away


Joe Mafela’s tombstone which was temporarily removed after his funeral to the dismay of everyone has been returned to its rightful place.

TV veteran Joe Mafela’s tombstone was temporarily removed following his funeral. The gesture stirred controversy with traditionalists saying it wasn’t traditional to take things away from the dead.

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National coordinator of the Traditional Healers Association (THA), Phephisile Maseko said that the action was against African tradition.

“In our tradition, you don’t remove anything from a cemetery. Once you take something to the graveyard it means you have left it for the dead and that it’s theirs now,” he told Sowetan.

Apparently, taking anything away from a grave site is nothing short of a taboo in the African concept.

Nevertheless, the designer of the tombstone, Lebohang Khitsane, who is also the CEO of Bataung Memorials, defended the decision to remove it and said it was not done to offend anyone or break any tradition. Apparently, they needed the soil to settle first before the final installation.

“We just wanted the concrete to set before we could put the tombstone on it and had we not waited, this stone would have collapsed. We brought [it] here on the day of the funeral as per the wishes of the family because they wanted Bra Joe’s relatives who had come from outside the country to also see it. We returned the stone to the factory and not the family home,” Khitsane said.

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He said the tombstone was brought to the burial site because the family wanted to carry out the ceremony and the unveiling on the same day to avoid incurring additional costs.

The tombstone was put back yesterday and the Mafela family are happy with the outcome. Joe Mafela’s tombstone which is a 6-ton state of the art masterpiece is an exact replica of a living room with a plasma TV, fancy TV stand, a couch and a coffee table.