New York Times Examines ‘Recycling’ of Graves in Durban, South Africa, Due to ‘Surging’ Number of AIDS-Related Deaths
The New York Times on Thursday examined how cemeteries in Durban, South Africa, are recycling graves -- burying a body on top of the bones of another body -- because of the "surging" number of deaths from AIDS-related causes and the lack of burial space in the country. Currently, 51 of 53 municipal cemeteries in Durban are officially filled to capacity, while the AIDS-related death rate "threatens to overwhelm" the last two in a few years, according to the Times. Thembinkosi Ngcobo, who heads the municipal department of parks and cemeteries, said the city's problem "defies a quick or simple solution," according to the Times. Although cremation seems like an "obvious option," a cultural bias against burning the bones of the dead prevents many ethnic Zulus -- who make up 70% of the Durban population -- from considering it. According to a Durban conference held on the issue earlier this month, cemeteries in the South African cities of Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth also are filling at "alarming rates," according to the Times (Wines, New York Times, 7/29). The complete article is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.