Earlier this year, Joe Mafela’s tombstone dominated headlines and social media conversations in the weeks following the legendary actor’s death, leaving us all with so many questions.
We have since been able to find out that the creation is the work of an eight-year-old company called Bataung Memorial Tombstones owned by serial-entrepreneur Lebogang Khitsane.
Speaking to Eusebius McKaiser on his 702 radio show this morning, Khitsane gave some insight into his business which is at the forefront of the personalization of head stones.
“They want something that will say who this person was and we introduced this to the game. We changed the game” said Khitsane when asked about the innovative nature of his business.
He started his first business back in 1994 at age 18 and went to lose his money by age 23 only to start over with multiple businesses before settling into his current businesses, Bataung Memorial Tombstones, Hunters Batsumi and Khitsane Investments.
Those of you with a really good memory may also remember him from the SABC 2 entrepreneurship reality TV show, Big Break Legacy, where he and his company came in second place about 5 years ago.
The entrepreneur describes his current business as one that creates everlasting memories for families that have been struck by death.
Khitsane also explained that designing the tombstones comes naturally as his imagination kicks into high gear whenever he’s speaking to the families while consoling them in their time of grieving.
“God created us differently so our stones must be different” he said. In addition to his past celebrity clients, he has also dreamed up creations for pilots, taxi bosses and more. But it was the late Joe Mafela's tombstone that really thrust Bataung into the limelight.
Another point of interest with Mafela’s tombstone was the amount of money it cost (especially since his family was in the headlines for a fall out they had with the church that reportedly charged them too much for the memorial service).
Khitsane explained that the tombstones cost so much because the material and technology that goes into making them is so specialized and it changes often so they constantly need to upgrade it.
But they do cater for the average South African family too since, according to Lebo, their offering range from R2600 for a tombstone and to unmentionable limits depending on what you can afford and would like them to create.
Bataung also donates tombstones and memorial services to people in need on a regular basis as Khitsane values the idea of maintaining a strong community that regularly helps each other out. It is that same spirit that probably prompted him (and Bataung) to sponsor the first season of Papa Penny Ahee.
Bataung Memorial Tombstones has, in the past, created tombstones for:
Fana “Khabzela” Khaba (former YFm DJ and HIV activist)
Happy Sindane (which was donated and cost about R70 000)
You can listen to the podcast here:
Main image credit: enca.com