Cost of cremation in South Africa (2020)


Are you in South Africa and you have a close relative or loved one who is deceased? Did the fellow request for cremation before they died and you need to know the costs? If your answer to these questions is yes, then you picked the right post.

Even if you don’t fall into any of the above categories and you are just in search of knowledge, you’re welcome too. We will discuss the cost of cremation in South Africa as well as all you need to know about the process.

Cost of cremation in South Africa

Cost of cremation in South Africa

It promises to be an interesting read so grab some coffee and let’s get to business.

How much does cremation cost in South Africa?

Cremation is generally cheaper than conducting a regular burial ceremony. This is because you do not need to pay for a grave or coffin. In South Africa, no specific rules are set for cremation processes.

Even though you do not really spend so much on the process, you may spend on memorials and feeding guests. There are a couple of funeral covers in South Africa to help with these costs. You have to be sure of how much you will be spending so that you don’t shortchange yourself when sending a quote.

This is why it is a great idea that you are reading this post. On average, the cost of cremation in South Africa on the average is about R7000. Usually, chapel cremations are about R9000. However, it is considerably cheaper with private cremations that cost R5000 on the average.

What is cremation?

Let’s face it, people do not like to talk about or plan for death. It is imperative that we do because it is an event that we all must pass through at some point. Cremation is one of the ways of taking care of bodies after death.

In simple terms, cremation is a process of disposing of a dead body through burning. The burning is done in a flame of between 1400 and 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. The end result of this process is a reduction of the human body to dried bone fragments and basic elements.

Cremation takes place in a crematorium or funeral home after the necessary papers have been appended. We will take a look at the process in some detail below.

What happens during cremation?

You must have had this question on your mind, a lot of people do too. Before the process, the body is prepared and the cremation chamber is also heated up. The body is then placed in the chamber.

During the process, the body is reduced to basic fragments as the organic matter is vaporized and the bones are incinerated. The resulting matter is cooled afterward and then with the help of a cremulator, it is ground into a finer consistency.

Following this, the cremains, that’s what they are called, are gathered and handed over to the family.

What is a crematorium?

This is simply a facility where cremation occurs. In some cases, funeral homes may have their own crematoriums. Even in these cases, it is always separate from the main funeral home facility.

A crematorium should have cremation chambers (it may be one or more). They are known professionally as retorts and they are fueled by gas or propane. These days, the heat is controlled electronically.

A crematorium is expected to have a seating room with a large window overlooking the cremation chamber. The family of the deceased can sit here if they please to watch the process.

Another area you expect to see is a merchandise or retail area. Here, you see on display different types of urns or keepsakes for holding ashes. So if you haven’t purchased any prior to the date, you can get one from here.

The funeral service

Most times, a funeral service does not take place. However, if you desire one, it can be fixed before or after the body is cremated. It all depends on your preference or the desire of the deceased. Like we mentioned earlier, there are no strict rules guiding this process.

Identifying the deceased

In earlier times, there were situations of making mistakes with ashes. This is why you must be sure of how a crematorium handles identification before signing up. Usually, a tag or document is used and it is meant to be with the body from when it is picked to when the ashes are collected.

When preparing the body for the process, quite a number of processes are carried out. Firstly, what you know will not get cremated, mostly external objects like jewelry, should be removed. Other things to be removed are peacemakers, therapeutic implants of radioactive nature, etc.

The body of the deceased is then placed in a container designed for the process. In most cases, it is called an alternative casket. This is not always necessary as a beautiful shroud may be used in wrapping the body instead.

How many hours does it take to cremate a body?

On average, it takes two hours to complete a cremation process. By the end of this period, all that is left of the body is fragments and dried bones.

After the cremation, there is a cooling process. This process takes an average of between thirty minutes and one hour.

Advantages of cremation

  • Cost a lot less than a regular burial.
  • It is regarded to be a more environmentally friendly process.
  • Quicker and easier to arrange.
  • Family members can share the remains among themselves for memorial reasons.
  • Reduces overcrowding in cemeteries.

Disadvantages of cremation

  • Bodies cannot be exhumed after the process as it is permanent.
  • Some religions forbid it.
  • Sometimes people experience problems of closure since there is nobody to mourn.
  • Ashes could spill, get lost, or even stolen.
  • There may be tension between family members who believe in the process and those who don’t.


In this post, you have learned about cremation costs in South Africa. We have also provided you a bit of information about the process including advantages and disadvantages. Now you can decide if you want that loved one to be cremated or not.