Peter Bruce Columnist

A few kilometres from the sea on a flat, lonely piece of wind-whipped grassland, a funeral took place on Tuesday morning. There were 50 family and friends at the grave. The grave had been dug and the body buried and covered the day before by men wearing silver hazmat suits. They sprayed disinfectant on the grass around the grave when they were done.

Another day, another grave in rural Transkei. The young woman in the ground, still in her thirties, had died in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, weeks before, after being taken to hospital by housemates complaining of chest pains and difficulty breathing. As far as the friends knew, she had died of a chest complaint. The body was placed in a mortuary while funeral arrangements were made and the arduous process begun of filling in the forms required to return the young woman home for burial.

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