The Lived Experience of Working as a Mortuary Assistant


By Theodorah Mawasha 


KGAPANE -During one of the speeches, the MEC of COGTA (Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs) Dr. Nkosasana Dlamini Zuma gave strict guidelines to ensure mortuary assistants’ lives were preserved. Due to the nature of the pandemic, hospital and private mortuary assistants had to observe strict regulations and protocol which made their jobs even more challenging.


However, the unsung heroes are often overlooked. The nature of their work requires them to have skills that will assist in dealing with grieving families while maintaining composure regardless of the circumstance.

The reality is that the workers are often the ones who require psychological help because their job is daunting and unpleasant.

According to the Limpopo Department of Health Spokesperson Neil Shikwambana, many of these workers shy away from sharing their thoughts and experiences citing that it’s a sensitive matter. “The mortuary assistants are the ones who usually help with moving bodies from storage units to autopsy tables. Furthermore, they are a pivotal point in transferring bodies to funeral homes and once they arrive continue to perform light housekeeping duties which can be very depressing”. He said.


Kgapane hospital mortuary assistants said “dealing with dead people is a tedious exercise. You wake up and do not look forward to anything in the day. Especially now during the pandemic because more people are dying every day. It gets worse because we sometimes lose the appetite for food after seeing a decomposed body. In any case, like any other job, we wake up every morning and come to work. You get used to seeing all of it in time, but it requires you to be strong.”


It was further mentioned that the statement mentioned the sad reality behind the statistics and the news that is shared every day. These workers are doing great regardless of the nature of the job. It is however true, not all heroes wear caps

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