SA’s funeral industry and the pandemic disruptor - March 2021
March 2021 sees one year since South Africa’s first lockdown due to COVID-19. Businesses and individuals alike are more prepared after the second wave, recognising that hardships will be evident, but that plans can be put in place to counteract these. One such business is AVBOB.
Pieter van der Westhuizen, General Manager: Funeral Service at AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society, shares his insights on the funeral industry and what 2021 holds for both the industry and AVBOB alike.
AVBOB, just like any other business, has had to innovate to meet the demands of COVID-19 restrictions. Since they are regarded an essential service, AVBOB was able to continue with their funeral business activities. There were, however, restrictions on the number of people allowed to attend funerals and enter their offices.
“Our clients were very supportive in most instances,” explains Van der Westhuizen. “We converted reefer containers into cold rooms to expand our cooling facilities. Our agents also made use of live streaming to ensure that friends and family that were not able to attend the funeral could watch it remotely.”
It is Van der Westhuizen’s opinion that affordability will become a focal point as the economy continues to retract and an increase in unemployment is driven by the effects of the pandemic. A smaller economy means less money in circulation and less disposable income. Furthermore, it will be much more difficult to visit customers at their place of work, so alternatives to this must be found.
“Not much has changed for the funeral industry during COVID-19,” states Van der Westhuizen. “It was clear that smaller players in the market struggled with expanding cooling facilities and with the supply of coffins. The industry can be very proud of the fact that it has handled many more funerals than before and did it successfully, especially during these times, with all kinds of regulations that take away the personal touch that is synonymous with funeral services.”
Van der Westhuizen notes that the business has learnt that you cannot run an organisation without properly trained and committed staff, and that one has to be nimble to make quick decisions to improve the business. “We must keep on investing in technology,” he says. “The pandemic is a disruptor, and businesses that are only dependent on physical infrastructure and distribution channels will find it difficult to compete in the future. Lastly, I firmly believe that a hybrid of face-to-face selling and using technology is the future!”
A third wave and the year ahead
“It is my opinion that South Africa will experience a third wave between end May and the beginning of July 2021,” states Van der Westhuizen. “In anticipation of this, AVBOB has taken active steps to ensure that we have sufficient coffins available to meet the demand; however, this provision only serves one aspect. We also need to remember that these additional coffins need to be stored, and for that, storage space is needed. We have to mitigate challenges relating to production capacity, whilst ensuring there is enough raw material available.”
Van der Westhuizen highlights that AVBOB was not caught off-guard by the second wave per se, but rather the concentration of the virus in specific areas. “In July, COVID-19 was spread relatively evenly throughout the country,” he says.
“This time around, we experienced extreme demand in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. It is simply physically impossible to train enough people or create additional infrastructure to provide for such growth in demand in such a short period of time. That being said, we did deliver, due to the fact that we had existing infrastructure and were in a position to invest to increase our infrastructure when it was required. Our people are also dedicated, resilient and highly motivated, which made all these changes within a very short space of time possible.
According to Van der Westhuizen, this is what makes the possibility of a new wave so challenging, as they need to identify where the wave will appear and become concentrated, and whether they will have the facilities in place to supply for and serve this need. “With regards to the rest of the year, we, like everyone else, need to see what will happen with the vaccine rollout, which will determine how we respond with demand going forward,” he continues.
AVBOB: Always there for its policyholders
AVBOB has been there for its policyholders throughout the pandemic, having now witnessed a total of three pandemics since its inception: the Spanish Flu, the Aids pandemic, and now COVID-19. AVBOB recognises the hardships its policyholders are facing and going through, and also that of their own staff, who have to deliver under immense pressure and often emotionally taxing conditions.
“The past year was more difficult than any other year in recent history, and placed more stress on our people,” says Van der Westhuizen. “Our people showed resilience during these tough times, but we were also fortunate to be allowed, as an essential service, to operate and offer employment to those in need.”
Van der Westhuizen concludes that AVBOB isn’t going anywhere. “People want the security of knowing that should something happen, and they need to claim, the claim will be paid and the company will deliver on what they say they will.
Over and above the claims that we paid since July 2020, we have saved our policyholders up to end February 2021, R290 million in funeral costs through our Free Member benefits. Each insured life qualifies after being insured for two years for a free basic coffin, the free arrangement and execution of the funeral, free transportation of the deceased within South Africa and R2500 cash.
Further to this we have also saved our customers R12.5 million through the free personal protective equipment that we have provided.
Throughout all this hardship, AVBOB will continue to be there for their policyholders in 2021 and beyond, as its mantra states: ‘We’re here for you®’.”
AVBOB extends financial support during COVID-19 - January 2021
This pandemic continues to make inroads into the lives and livelihoods of all South Africans, which is why AVBOB has taken a proactive approach in alleviating some of the financial burden on individuals who need to lay their loved ones to rest. Towards this end, AVBOB saved its policyholders and private clients a combined R5,7 million from July to the end of November 2020 through the initial provision of free PPE* for its staff conducting funerals.
AVBOB scales branch infrastructure
The rapid increase in new COVID-19 infections and mortality during this second wave has placed immense pressure on South Africa’s funeral industry. However, since the pandemic arose in 2020, AVBOB has implemented numerous measures to accommodate these challenges to ensure that their private clients and policyholders can still be assured a dignified farewell.
AVBOB’s frontline workers are under immense pressure to attend to the funeral needs of families who have lost loved ones. This has resulted in certain AVBOB branches taking the initiative to extend their business hours to 22h00 and erect tents outside selected branches to further facilitate servicing clients more efficiently, since limited numbers of clients can be allowed inside the branches due to COVID-19 restrictions. Every possible measure is taken to alleviate the challenges that may already seem insurmountable to those grieving.
This increased pressure has also resulted in an increased demand for coffins. According to AVBOB’s General Manager for Corporate Affairs, Adriaan Bester, AVBOB has made the necessary preparations nationally to meet the greater demand since they manufacture their own coffins, caskets and funeralware at AVBOB Industries in Bloemfontein.
AVBOB has also recognised the importance of applying innovative and cost-effective strategies that directly benefit their policyholders and private clients. “We have increased our container mortuaries to 22 units, which have been distributed around the country, and are in the process of equipping additional units to further increase this capacity,” highlights Bester. “These container mortuaries enable us to deploy additional functionality to facilities under pressure from the growing demands of COVID-19.” AVBOB will continue to implement viable solutions that benefit their policyholders and private clients as everyone faces the impacts of this pandemic together.
This has been further demonstrated through the uninterrupted provision of FREE member funeral benefits** by AVBOB Funeral Service, that saved its policyholders an additional R160 million from the beginning of July to the end of November 2020. Qualifying policyholders and members of the society will continue to reap these FREE funeral benefits** – a FREE funeral valued at R12 000, a R2 500 immediate cash payment for initial expenses, and FREE transport of the deceased within the borders of South Africa – in the coming year.
AVBOB will continue to innovate to ensure that they meet their brand promise of “We’re here for you®” for their clients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. For more information on AVBOB’s response to COVID-19, scroll down on this news page.
*All PPE used by the family during viewings or at the gravesite will be for the customer’s account.
** Terms and conditions apply. Free funeral benefits only apply if AVBOB Funeral Service conducts the funeral.
Results of the Annual General Meeting - November 2020
We are pleased to announce the results of the sixty-ninth Annual General Meeting of AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society held on Wednesday, 18 November 2020. The results of the voting were as follows:
|Ordinary resolution||% Votes
|1: Annual report||100||0||0|
|2: Appointment of auditors||97.6||2.4||0|
|3: Remuneration of auditors||91.5||4.8||3.7|
|5: Remuneration of Directors||89.9||2.5||7.6|
GROUP COMPANY SECRETARY
AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society
368 Madiba Street
Tel: 012 303 1257
AVBOB AGM acknowledges excellence amidst the COVID-19 storm - November 2020
Solid Organic Results
In spite of the challenges experienced, AVBOB delivered solid organic results, mostly due to its rapid and extensive responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We focused on customer and employee satisfaction, expanded digitisation, and introduced new innovative services. In these challenging times, AVBOB continues to enhance its initiatives to meet the needs of its members at the most affordable cost possible,” Delport said.
He also attributed the Society’s solid results and growth, in a very difficult economic and operational environment, to its strong leadership.
Because AVBOB is a mutual it takes its role as a corporate citizen to heart. “As a mutual society, we recognise and accept the responsibility to ensure that our activities and operations remain beneficial to our AVBOB family and the communities in which we operate,” Delport explained. He further noted that the Society’s unique mutual model, which has been used successfully for more than 102 years, creates tangible economic wealth and benefits for their members, of which 80% are from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
In addition to the special bonuses that the Society has declared over the years they have also implemented flexible premium payment terms to assist their policyholders during these trying times. Delport, however noted that the free funeral benefits, provided by AVBOB Funeral Service, remains their biggest commitment to their members. Furthermore, the Society’s CSI initiatives have improved the lives of a number of individuals in a tangible way.
AVBOB CEO, Carl van der Riet, who has been leading the Group for just under a year, has done a remarkable job in tackling the challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The 2020 financial year has been one of the most memorable and challenging in recent history. The year started strong, but the overall performance was overshadowed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the last quarter,” he stated.
COVID-19 created unprecedented challenges for the business but, conversely, also presented the Group with opportunities to demonstrate the real value it can contribute as a business to its customers and to society. “Our impact confirms yet again the relevance of what we do and our purpose and place in society,” Van der Riet said.
The CEO announced that "despite the difficult operating environment, the Group generated a profit before transfer to policyholder liabilities of R1.2 billion for the year, and this full amount was set aside for the future enhancement of member benefits.” Van der Riet also noted that the Group paid R184 million to their members in respect of their AVBOB Reward Accounts.
According to Van der Riet, the Group also heeded the call by President Ramaphosa for donations to the Solidarity Fund established to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline health workers. “I am humbled by the voluntary contributions from staff which, together with a contribution by the Group, amounted to R4.7 million,” he said.
Van der Riet also made mention of the Group’s well-deserved accolades in a number of areas. The Society was voted the winner of the Funeral Cover category in the 2020/21 Ask Afrika Kasi Star Brands Survey for the third consecutive year in the Township Brands Survey and the winner of the Funeral Cover category in the Ask Afrika Icon Brands Survey for the fifth year.
Van der Riet closed with positive sentiments and noted that even though the world has changed significantly since the Group’s inception in 1918 “the pressure to evolve in order to remain relevant and deliver the value expected by our members and policyholders is ever increasing”.
“Our competitive advantage of being a mutual remains intact and we remain the only organisation that can provide funeral insurance, funeral services and products as a one-stop service.” Carl van der Riet, CEO.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2019/2020 FINANCIAL YEAR
- The AVBOB Poetry Project, now in its third year, with more than 30 573 entries.
- The 56th container library was donated in March 2020.
- R150 million was set aside for the development of local suppliers, mainly for funeral services.
- The refurbishment of rural schools to the value of R135 million is progressing well
- R15 million was contributed towards the Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) initiative.
- Premium income increased by 14.0% to R4.7 billion.
- Policyholders increased to 2.2 million and the number of lives assured to 7.0 million.
- The number of funerals conducted grew by 4.5% during the year.
- Free funeral services and products to the value of R318.7 million were provided to our members by AVBOB Funeral Service during the year.
- The Group’s national footprint was expanded by 11 new funeral and insurance offices.
- The Group was successfully certified in 2018, 2019, and 2020 by the Top Employers Institute.
- Surplus from insurance operational activities increased by 37% to R1.8 billion.
- An additional R1.2 billion was set aside for the improvement of policyholder benefits.
AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS:
- WINNER of the Funeral Cover category in the 2019/2020 Ask Afrika Icon Brands Survey – July 2019
- PMR.africa Diamond Arrow 2019 award in the category Business Sector: Funeral Service and Insurance KwaZulu-Natal – August 2019
- SECOND PLACE in the Consumer Category: Long-term Insurance – Sunday Times Top Brands Awards – September 2019
- WINNER OF THE PLATINUM AWARD in the Best Funeral Plans category and the Gold Award in the Best Long-term Insurance category of the Daily Sun Readers Awards – September 2019
- INDUSTRY WINNER in the Funeral/Burial Services category in the 2019/2020 Ask Afrika Orange Index® benchmark – October 2019
- GOLD WINNER in Die Burger’s 2019 Jou Keuse (Your Choice) competition, in the category Best Funeral Service in the Western Cape – October 2019
- The AVBOB Poetry Project WON A GOLD AWARD for Best Online Competition at the prestigious 2019 New Generation Social & Digital Media Awards – 4 October 2019
- The AVBOB Poetry Project and our partner agency, the et al GROUP WON TWO GOLD Assegai Awards in November 2019, in the Social Media and Integrated Direct Marketing Campaigns categories
- In November 2019, the Group was certified as a TOP EMPLOYER through the Top Employers Institute (TEI) for the third year in a row
- WINNER OF THE FUNERAL COVER category as measured in the 2020/2021 Ask Afrika Kasi Star Brands Survey – June 2020
AVBOB verstewig standpunt teen geslagsgebaseerde geweld met die borg van ’n hulplyn - Auguatus 2020
Die begrafnis- en versekeringsdiensgroep het dié veldtog verlede maand afgeskop deur ŉ gesamentlike bedrag van R210 000 aan sewe nie-regeringsorganisasies (NRO’s) regoor die land, wat betrokke is by die bestryding van geslag-gebaseerde geweld, te skenk . Carl van der Riet, AVBOB se uitvoerende hoof, beskryf die simboliek van 365+ as deel van die groep se verbintenis tot die stryd teen geslagsgebaseerde geweld soos volg: “Ons pogings met die 365+ veldtog strek verder as nét donasies, naamlik om bewustheid van geslagsgebaseerde geweld te bevorder en mense in staat te stel om op elkeen van die driehonderd vyf-en-sestig dae per jaar daaroor te praat.”
Hierdie verbintenis word nou versterk deur AVBOB se borgskap van die TEARS-hulplyn, wat vir ŉ aanvanklike tydperk van een jaar sal duur. TEARS het ŉ stewige teenwoordigheid in Suid-Afrika en het in die afgelope 12 maande 57 318 slagoffers van seksuele geweld gehelp deur middel van hul gratis 24-uur Help-at-your-ﬁngertips® hulplyn-platform, *134*7355#.
In Suid-Afrika word een uit elke drie vroue in hul leeftyd deur fisiese en seksuele geweld en mishandeling geraak.
“Die COVID-19-pandemie saai verwoesting in ons samelewing en ekonomie en die inperking het ŉ dramatiese impak op heelwat lewens. Maar te midde van al hierdie trauma en die omwenteling wat dit veroorsaak, is daar nóg ŉ pandemie wat ons samelewing al jare teister en wat sy lelike kop nou weer uitgesteek het. Dít is die pandemie van geslagsgebaseerde geweld,” sê Van der Riet in kommentaar op die NRO-skenkings, die borgskap van die TEARS-hulplyn en die groep se standpunt teen geslagsgebaseerde geweld.
Hy voeg by: “Die vennootskap met die TEARS-stigting is baie belangrik vir AVBOB, wat reeds vir meer as ŉ honderd jaar sy gemeenskappe en families dien en as sodanig ŉ integrale deel van die Suid-Afrikaanse samelewing is. Een van ons kernwaardes binne die onderneming (binne AVBOB) is die waarde van familie, die beginsel van familie. Ons is baie erg oor hierdie beginsel, en een van die onderdele daarvan is dat ons almal saamstaan, niemand word uitgesluit nie, en die kwessies wat een familielid raak, raak die hele familie en daarom berus die verpligting op elke familielid om deel van die oplossing te wees.”
Van der Riet sê dit is almal se verantwoordelikheid om, veral te midde van die viering van Vrouemaand, ŉ standpunt in te neem teen geweld teen vrouens en kinders: “Al die individue en organisasies wat nou met die slagoffers van hierdie gruwel saamwerk, weet dat die geweld teen ons vrouens en kinders nie met die daad eindig nie. Dit duur voort wanneer hulle probeer om dié mishandeling aan te meld en hulle dan verkleineer of geïgnoreer word. Hierdie houding sal voortduur solank ons staan en toekyk en niks daaraan doen nie. AVBOB wil ŉ einde hieraan bring. Ons staan langs die grafte saam met families en sien die hartseer, woede en pyn van gesinne wat hul dogters, hul susters, hul ma's aan hierdie afgryse verloor het.”
TEARS verwelkom AVBOB se betrokkenheid
Mara Glennie, stigterslid en direkteur van TEARS, verwelkom dié vennootskap met AVBOB. “Ons sê dankie aan AVBOB vir hulle vennootskap met die TEARS-stigting om ondersteuning en hoop te bied aan diegene in ons gemeenskappe wie se lewens deur geslagsgebaseerde geweld geraak is. Saam kan ons ŉ verskil maak.
AVBOB se slagspreuk, Ons is hier vir jou®, beklemtoon ook dit wat ons by TEARS glo. AVBOB is ŉ gevestigde organisasie en is verbind tot groei in ons land, net soos ons by TEARS verbind is tot die vroue en kinders in ons land wat verkrag en mishandel word. Dit is ook vir TEARS ’n riem onder die hart om te weet dat ons hierdie moeilike pad saam met AVBOB kan aandurf.”
Die TEARS-stigting word deur vroue gelei wat hul vir die bekamping van seksuele geweld beywer en landswyd onderstuening aan slagoffers van verkragting en mishandeling bied. Die organisasie staan reeds vir agt jaar aan die voorpunt van die plaaslike reaksie teen seksuele geweld. TEARS bied hulp deur middel van ŉ 24-uur, gratis USSD-diens aan enige iemand wat toegang tot ŉ selfoon het, ongeag van ras, geloof, kultuur of sosio-ekonomiese agtergrond of plek van afkoms.
Mara Glennie, stigter en direkteur van die TEARS-stigting en Carl van der Riet, AVBOB se uitvoerende hoof, by die amptelike aankondiging van AVBOB se borgskap van die TEARS-stigting se gratis USSD-hulplyn (*134*7355#).
AVBOB takes the STAND AGAINST GBV to next level with sponsorship for helpline - Auguat 2020
Last month the funeral service and insurance group launched its 365+ campaign by donating R210 000 towards seven NGOs across the country that are involved in combatting GBV. At the time, AVBOB’s CEO, Carl van der Riet, explained the symbolism of 365+ to AVBOB’s commitment in taking a stand against GBV: “Our efforts with the 365+ campaign will extend beyond donations to drive awareness and to enable people to speak up, every single day, three-hundred and sixty-five days a year.”
That commitment is now reinforced through AVBOB’s sponsorship of the TEARS Foundation, launched with this release, which will run for an initial period of one year. TEARS has a strong presence in South Africa and in the last 12 months, 57 318 victims of sexual violence were helped through its free 24-hour Help-at-your-ﬁngertips® helpline platform, *134*7355#.
In South Africa, one in every three women experience physical and sexual violence and abuse during their lifetime.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has played havoc with our society and with our economy and the lockdown has had a devastating impact on many lives. But, in the midst of all of this trauma and this upheaval there is another pandemic that has been plaguing our society for years and that has reared its ugly head again. And this is the pandemic of GBV,” Van der Riet says, commenting on AVBOB’s NGO donations, the sponsorship of the TEARS helpline and the group’s stand against the travesty that is GBV.
He adds: “This partnership with the TEARS Foundation is very important to AVBOB, which has been around for over 100 years, serving our communities and serving our families and as such is an integral part of the fabric of South African society. One of our core values within the firm, within AVBOB, is the value of family and the concept of family. We hold this concept very dear and one of the parts of it is that everyone stands together, no one is left out, no one is excluded, and the issues that impact on one member of a family impact on the whole family and therefore it's the obligation of every member of the family to participate in finding resolution.”
Van der Riet says it is incumbent on all, especially as we celebrate Women’s Month, to take a stand against this blight that is destroying communities: “All the individuals and organisations who work so closely with the victims of this horror know that the violence against our women and children does not end there. It continues when they try to report their abuse. It continues every time they are dismissed or diminished or ignored. It continues as long as we stand by and do nothing. We want to put a stop to this. We have stood by the graveside and witnessed the grief and anger and pain of families who have lost their daughters, their sisters, their mothers to this horror.”
TEARS welcomes AVBOB involvement
Founder and director of TEARS, Mara Glennie welcomes the partnership with AVBOB. “We thank AVBOB for partnering with the TEARS Foundation to provide support and offer hope to those in our community whose lives have been affected by GBV. Together we can make a difference.
One of the things that we love about AVBOB is their slogan, We’re here for you® because that's what we at TEARS believe; we need to be here for you. That truly amplifies what we try to offer through TEARS. For us it is an ideal partnership. AVBOB is an established organisation that is committed to the growth in our country, as we at TEARS are committed to the women and children of our country that have been raped and abused. So, it is a real delight to know that we no longer walk alone, but that we walk with AVBOB.”
The TEARS Foundation is a woman-led anti-sexual violence organisation for victims of rape and abuse nationally and has been at the forefront of the South African response to sexual violence for the past eight years. It helps nationwide with a 24-hour, free USSD service to anyone who has access to a mobile phone, regardless of ethnicity, religion, culture or socio-economic background or location.
Mara Glennie, founder and director of the TEARS Foundation and Carl van der Riet, AVBOB CEO, elbow bump on the funeral service and insurance group’s branded sponsorship agreement of TEARS’ free USSD helpline (*134*7355#)
The AVBOB Poetry Gala 2020 - August 2020
And so, on 6 August 2020, in the newly shifted world of social distancing – and for the first time since the launch of the AVBOB Poetry Competition in 2017 – the annual prize-giving gala went virtual and online (livestreamed on social media). This called for a dramatic departure from the usual order of events. The live musical performances of previous years now made way for powerful performance poets from across South Africa. Spoken word artists Puno Selesho, Kedibone Mphethi, Loftus Marais and Given Masilela gave life to poems from the AVBOB print anthology and of their own. Each performance – in English, Afrikaans, Sesotho and isiZulu – was nuanced and persuasive.
Click here to read the full release: https://avbobpoetry.co.za/Blog/View/46
AVBOB celebrates Madiba legacy by contributing to fight against GBV - July 2020
During the first week of the COVID-19 lockdown, over 87 000 cases of GBV were reported to police. Since then, there have been many reports that indicate that there has been a surge in GBV cases.
As such, AVBOB has seen it as incumbent on themselves to join the fight to create awareness around such a pervasive human condition. In the past, AVBOB has already taken a public stance against GBV, led by CEO Carl van der Riet. But it is intensifying efforts with the launch of a new campaign against GBV, which it has kicked off by donating a total of R210 000 to seven NGO’s across South Africa. This is a prelude to a national initiative that will be launched in the next couple of days.
In response to the launch of AVBOB’s anti-GBV initiatives, Van der Riet says, “As we mark the end of another Mandela Month, it is fitting to start with Madiba’s words on the issue that we’ve all taken a stand against. He said that ‘our freedom remains incomplete, as long as we are denied our security by those who commit violence against our women and children.’
Looking at the state of our nation today, his words still ring painfully true. Adults and children are trapped at home with abusive partners or parents, and as the financial stresses of unemployment exacerbate the situation even further, it’s up to all of us to take a stand and to help end the scourge of violence against the most vulnerable members of our society.”
Van der Riet adds that AVBOB’s primary objective is to show its stakeholders that it is not only creating awareness, but that it is taking definitive action. “Furthermore, as a mutual, AVBOB supports people, communities and initiatives aimed at improving the lives of those around us. This bears testament that AVBOB remains true to its brand promise, We’re here for you®”
The seven NGO’s that have received donations are:
- Aldabri 99 from Tongaat, Durban. The NGO advances community development through women empowerment projects and skills development campaigns in and around Durban. AVBOB’s donation will be used to fund counselling for victims of GBV and towards programmes that provide emotional support, legal advice, and medical assistance.
- Arebueng Community Support from Randfontein. The NGO primarily focuses on fighting GBV and its exacerbating effects on the disadvantaged families of Rand West City. AVBOB’s funds will be used to purchase food parcels for women and children facing GBV.
- Empower from Worcester, Western Cape. The non-profit organisation’s focus is on community leadership development, youth development and job creation in townships. The funding received from AVBOB will be used to fund the costs of running the place of safety, replenishing hygiene products and airtime packages for volunteers who conduct telephonic counselling.
- Helping Those in Need from Berea, East London. The NGO operates a place of safety for abused, neglected children and rape victims. AVBOB’s donation will be used to purchase and distribute food and hygiene packs for their beneficiaries.
- Kgoro Ya Thuto from Waverly, Bloemfontein. The organisation tackles the problems of sexual abuse and other forms of GBV in the community of Thaba-Nchu. The donation from AVBOB will be used for the continued provision of much needed sanitary products and food parcels to beneficiaries and to fund the costs of their skills development programmes.
- Letoya Makhene Foundation (LMF) from Tladi, Soweto. LMF focuses on the empowerment of women, children and the LGBTQI+ community. The AVBOB funds will be used for the purchase of food and blankets to be distributed to the victims of GBV.
- Vision of Love from Thabazimbi, Limpopo. Vision of Love provides aid and services to persons experiencing domestic violence and leads the struggle to end GBV through advocacy and community-based educational campaigns in Thabazimbi. AVBOB’s donation will go towards food parcels and facemasks for identified beneficiaries.
AVBOB confident funeral industry will cope with spike in COVID-19 deaths
Pieter van der Westhuizen, AVBOB’s general manager for funeral services, says that South Africa is seeing far fewer annual deaths than the highs of the mid-2000’s when the HIV epidemic was at its peak. “Based on the latest available census figures for deaths recorded, South Africa last year had about 3 300 fewer deaths each week than it had 15 years ago. Deaths caused by COVID-19 are still a long way off from this; in fact, the country has only now surpassed a total figure of 4 000 deaths since the pandemic hit the country.
Furthermore, more players have entered the market since 2006 and AVBOB has also grown its footprint over this period. So, the industry will be able to weather the storm.”
The latest available census data indicates that close to 443 000 deaths were recorded in South Africa in 2016 which amounts to roughly 9 200 per week. This compares to about 620 000 deaths (roughly 12 500 per week) in 2006 when the previous census was done. The challenge will be when the additional deaths happen over a short period of time.
Government predicts COVID-19-related deaths of between 40 000 and 48 000 by the end of the year.
Converted shipping containers assist with capacity building
AVBOB is closely tracking developments on a day-to-day basis to stay ahead of the curve and have learnt much from what happened in the Western Cape where indications are that the spread of the pandemic is starting to level off. “In the Western Cape we have been able to handle the situation well and stay ahead of the curve. We also have sufficient cover in the form of shipping containers that our factory in Bloemfontein converted into mortuaries.”
AVBOB, which by the end of June handled close to 25% of all deaths caused by COVID-19, initially converted seven shipping containers that were placed strategically in the Western and Eastern Cape. A further four containers were recently commissioned for conversion of which three will be shipped to Gauteng to offer further capacity. Each container takes 10 days from ordering, to converting it, to finally delivering it to where it is needed. Each container can hold 30 bodies.
“At some branches we were able to increase existing cooling capacity that was already in place where others required us to put down the converted containers.
It was essential to increase capacity in the Eastern Cape as some funeral branches are geographically not in close proximity, as opposed to Gauteng, where we have more funeral branches in closer proximity.
Closing of infected branches could hold challenge
Although AVBOB sees having sufficient capacity as essential, it says its big challenge is the possibility of a funeral branch having to close due to the personnel testing positive and having to spend time in quarantine. But the group has prepared for this eventuality by preparing and bringing temporary teams on board that will be managed by senior AVBOB staff if the need arose.
Van der Westhuizen is full of praise for all the funeral staff that serve as frontline personnel. “You can create all the infrastructure you want to make sure there is sufficient capacity, but without the dedication and support from our people that work day and night without complaining, none of this would be possible. They are the real heroes.”
Jacaranda FM interview with Mr Pieter van der Westhuizen, General Manager: Funeral Service, on the impact of COVID-19 deaths on the funeral industry
AVBOB proves to be top funeral cover brand in townships- July 2020
“Being a Kasi Star Brand of choice is humbling because we know that only the most loved brands across Mzansi’s townships receive this honour. We are appreciative of the vote of confidence and we believe it is indicative of the high value we place on customer service. To Mzansi we would like to say - thank you for placing your trust in us and for your commitment to our brand,” says AVBOB’s Customer Experience Manager, Haddon de Waal.
“By choosing AVBOB as your preferred funeral cover and service provider, you’ve paid us the ultimate compliment – you recognise what makes us different. As a mutual assurance society, AVBOB works like a stokvel, and we share our surplus profits with policyholders in the form of special bonuses and enhanced funeral benefits. These bonuses and funeral benefits are over and above your policy value,” De Waal explained.
According to Ask Afrika, Kasi Star Brands are brands that are chosen again and again by South Africa’s township consumers, irrespective of background or living standard. These are brands that define a common experience, often on a daily basis to which South Africa’s township consumers are committed to in a real sense. Most of these consumers put their money where their mouths are to demonstrate this commitment. Kasi Star Brands are weaved into the fabric of our vibrant South African townships.
Focus on Kasi consumers’ loyalty
The survey focuses on brands and products which Kasi consumers use loyally. A total of 7 794 Kasi consumers were interviewed, and the survey represents the views of 10 562 000 Kasi consumers living in South Africa. Face-to-face interviews were done within Kasi households.
“As part of our drive to get closer to our customers and provide a one stop service, we are opening a Client Service Centre at the Tshwane Regional Mall in Mamelodi in August 2020. These customers will now be able to get assistance on their existing AVBOB policies, buy a new policy or make funeral arrangements at their local mall.
Furthermore, over the past number of years AVBOB has shown its commitment to Mzansi's townships by giving local entrepreneurs the opportunity to manage their own AVBOB Funeral Agency and by placing container libraries at primary schools across South Africa. In total, 55 fully equipped container libraries, worth about half a million rand each, have been donated since 2013.
Lastly, the AVBOB promise: We’re here for you®, is not just words - delivering great customer service has been part of the way we do things since we opened our doors in 1918. Through customer feedback for example, we continuously want to learn so that we can get better at what we do,” concludes De Waal.
Out of the mouths of babes – new ways of seeing and being from our young poets - July 2020
Letshepo Morelo (14)
Cash prize: R1 000
Juliet Mokgwadi (17)
Cash prize: R700
Cash prize: R300
In that brief aperture into being – where children are simply allowed to be – the world is wondrous and limitless. In philosopher Michael Meade’s words: “Each young person is a poet of sorts, trying to sort out the poetics of their inner life and its relation to the great world around it.” And this is truer now than ever before, as the COVID-19 crisis has caused such rupture in our lives, and has called into question the foundations on which this adult world of ours is built.
And so, over Youth Month, AVBOB felt it important to invite young poets to craft poems of comfort for kids over this time of uncertainty and instability. We challenged our under-18s to reach out to others and provide a measure of hope to hold on to as they are forced to navigate a changed universe. We wanted to listen in to the voices of our young, who are compelled to come of age in a strange new place, a world where their every instinct – to explore and to connect – has been shut down, as they are forced to wear masks, forgo touch, and isolate. And our three young winning poets did just that, speaking from a place of authenticity, precocity and prescience.
Born and bred in Nelspruit, our first-prize winner, Letshepo Morelo, is just 14 years old but already has a strong sense of his vocation as a poet:
But Letshepo also wanted his poem to encourage people to comply with the new regulations in order to hasten the end of this pandemic and to bring a return to a more recognisable world. And he puts a positive spin on staying at home: “I believe that we should not look at staying home as a punishment, but as a chance to let planet Earth heal from things like pollution and global warming, while we bond with our loved ones and explore our individual talents.” In spite of the upheaval that has threatened to unmoor our young people right now – they are forced to face a world that is not of their making – there is this positive sense of purpose and opportunity. And a resilience and sense of agency that should inspire the older generation.
In his untitled poem, Letshepo explores the paradoxes of this pandemic (‘Where love/is staying away/from each other’). And he urges us to be willing to ‘move mountains’ in order to find a way forward, with the assurance that ‘we will rise’.
Here in a time
when the Earth
absorb our cries
and sanitizers are used.
is staying away
from each other,
is not embracing
comes and goes
and returning to school,
is not promised.
When we are held back
at a distance
we will rise
and let no pandemic
get under our skin.
We will wait for the day
when we can hug and laugh
and look into
each other's eyes
without distancing much.
We will follow
and stay safe at home,
we will move mountains
by flattening the curve
and working together
Our second-prize winner Juliet Mokgwadi is 17 years old and lives in Middelburg, Mpumalanga. She has been a lifelong lover of poetry, and her bedroom is packed with notebooks containing her writings, which have mirrored the milestones in her young life. She has the courage and confidence that others far older than her would envy, and sees her poetry as a way to connect with and move others:
Her poem speaks to a time beyond this time, when those simple ordinary delights we have taken for granted – now taken from us – will be restored to us, and we will re-emerge ‘like gorgeous butterflies… grateful/Of a handshake with a stranger,/A crowded theatre,/Each deep breath,/And life itself.’ She layers this rebirth, and the accompanying gratitude, to compass everything from the simplest daily gestures (a handshake) and delights (a crowded theatre), to the profound impulse (each deep breath) that subtends all life. And each and all, from the daily to the sacred, are framed by the familiar, accessible and uncomplicated refrain: ‘So don't worry, be happy.’
So many plans we've laid have unravelled
easily as braids beneath my mother's quick fingers:
Movies on Monday
Tea party on Tuesday
Wedding on Wednesday
Shopping on Thursday
and funeral on Friday.
But don't worry, be happy.
These tough times will soon pass
like the cold wind that rushes through the grass.
Nothing lasts forever,
and though this mountain seems too tall,
its purpose is to teach and heal,
not to confuse or to appal.
So don't worry, be happy.
Because when you worry your face will frown
and that will bring everybody down.
To be honest,
we are already at our lowest.
So don't worry, stay at home.
It will soon pass.
The doctors and nurses will heal the world
then our president will re-open it.
We will come out of our cocoons
Like gorgeous butterflies
We will be more grateful
Of a handshake with a stranger,
A crowded theatre,
Each deep breath,
And life itself.
We will be better people because of the worst crisis.
So don't worry, be happy.
Our third-prize winner is just eight years old and hails from Port Elizabeth. Grade 2 learner Lwabelo Bokwana is something of a spelling whizz and loves words for the sheer joy of what they can do. He wrote his poem – his very first – because he felt he had a duty to comfort his peers and remind them that, one day, they will play together again.
The simplicity and brevity of his poem is deceptive, however, as he manages to pack multiple meanings into just six short lines. He begins by rehearsing those messages that are so regularly received from the figures of authority (doctors, parents, government) in children’s lives. And while these messages may seem a validation of children, and may celebrate their promise and potential (‘we are strong’, ‘we are a blessing’, ‘we are the future’), there is the risk that, at best, they remain mere platitudes and, at worst, they become a burden too difficult to bear.
So, our young poet maps out the concrete, practical steps that are needed to get beyond the restrictions of the present – steps that have been drummed into our children across the world over this pandemic (‘wash your hands’, ‘stop touching your eyes’, ‘keep a distance from people’) – to arrive at a more easy to bear, more accessible reality: playing together as friends, going to school together, and growing together. There is strength in the real and concrete – the lived experience of the child – rather than in the burdens and expectations that are placed on them by society (doctors, parents, government).
Doctors say we are strong.
Parents say we are a blessing.
Government says we are the future.
Wash your hands, so we can play together again.
Stop touching your eyes, so we can go to school again.
Keep a distance from people, so we can grow.
Our young poets remind us that if they are simply given the chance to be themselves, to find their own way forward, on their own terms, they will, perhaps, be able to usher in a world that is better than our present one. And what is more reassuring, as we have seen in this mini-competition, is that our young people have found their voice, and it is true and strong. And that is the power of poetry – to give voice to the smallest among us so that we may speak our truth. So, add your voice to the fourth annual AVBOB Poetry Competition, which runs from 1 August ‘til 30 November 2020. Visit www.avbobpoetry.co.za to enter.
Introducing AVBOB Memories – a powerful new platform for remembrance, reconnection, and celebration - July 2020
Informed by this need, we’ve introduced inspiring and innovative offerings to our AVBOB family – such as the AVBOB Poetry Project, where grieving South Africans may go for comfort and consolation, with access to a free online library of over 10 000 poems in all 11 of our mother tongues. We brought Aquamation – water-based cremation – to South Africa, with its promise of a gentle, kinder last rite. And now we are making the AVBOB Memories multi-channel platform available to our funeral customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, often painfully, of the importance of remembrance and reconnection in our lives. With funerals limited to immediate family and no more than 50 attendees, and with families spread around the globe and separated by travel restrictions, we have felt most keenly the profound need to re-consecrate our rituals, and to find new ways to honour those who have left us. AVBOB Memories provides a remarkable remedy, enabling us to reconnect through an online event that mirrors those real-world rituals so deeply entrenched in our cultures and in our hearts.
Through an interactive and intuitive online platform, AVBOB Funeral Service customers – whether they have a policy or not – may now produce their own video memorial, in celebration of the life of their loved one. The user-friendly platform allows a central coordinator to build a powerful tribute to the departed, making use of images, messages, music, memes, memories and mementos. They are encouraged to invite contributors onto the platform to share their fondest recollections of the departed. The idea is to expand the circle of contributors to all those whose lives were touched by the deceased.
To get started, the person coordinating the funeral arrangements will receive an SMS invitation from AVBOB, containing a personalised web application link, to register on the platform. Once registered, the coordinator can then choose to build the memorial keepsake via the online platform or by downloading the ‘Memories by AVBOB’ app from the Apple or Android app stores.
The coordinator is then able to select from, curate and upload the many contributions – they may be poems or prayers, anecdotes or diary entries, photographs from the past, or whimsical tales from the present. The end result is a deeply personal digital memorial – a truly composite tribute to the person lost, created and curated by those who knew and loved them best.
What differentiates the platform dramatically is that family and friends can access it online or by dialling a personalised USSD service. In the spirit of inclusivity that informs all our products and services, we wanted to ensure that even those without access to data could still make use of this celebratory service.
Setting up the memorial has also been designed as a seamless process in just six simple steps. This includes selecting a theme, identifying life-stage categories through which to organise the content, and adding a biography of the beloved. And if the coordinator or contributors are at a loss for words and want to enrich the video with verse, they’re free to use any of the poems in the AVBOB Poetry library (www.avbobpoetry.co.za), which covers the themes of love, death, birth and hope.
Through the platform, the time, date and venue of the funeral can then be shared with all the contributors, and once the video memorial is complete, the coordinator can download the video and distribute it – either as part of the funeral programme, as a social media share, or as a perpetual keepsake, to be cherished and revisited whenever they seek solace.
The digital service allows controlled access, curated participation, and detailed customisation. But, more importantly, it provides a living, loving record of the life lost. In the words of the poet Guy de Maupassant: “Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe: it gives back life to those who no longer exist.”
AVBOB Memories is our way of giving back to those who are grieving, at a time in their lives that is marked by loss and longing. For all at AVBOB, it’s a demonstration of our brand promise, to be there for our people, to address their changing needs, and to offer hope and healing through the darkest of days. The AVBOB Memories platform was purposefully created to provide a bridge to memory and to remind us of what matters most in life.
For more details on this powerful platform, please visit: https://www.avbob.co.za/Product/FuneralService
AVBOB at the forefront of transformation - July 2020
According to AVBOB’s Commercial Director, Deno Pillay, this has remained core to everything the funeral service and insurance group undertakes and aspires to. “That motto that HH van Rooijen believed in, serving people and putting people’s needs first, irrespective of who the person is and where they come from, has been at the forefront of everything we do.”
Featuring on Besigheid wat saak maak (Business that matters), the new TV business-breakfast show on VIA (DStv channel 147) this past Saturday, Pillay says that for all practical purposes the AVBOB of today still is the same entity that inspired its birth more than 100 years ago. “AVBOB is a true mutual society, which means that it is owned by its members, its policyholders. So, we don’t have shareholders. All the profits the group generates are distributed to our members in the form of special bonuses, enhanced funeral benefits such as a FREE* basic funeral, R2 500 cash up front, etc.”
In contrast with companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) that have to give account to a small group of investors (shareholders), AVBOB has to account to a large group of people, in fact more than 2.1 million policyholders/members that cover 6.5 million lives – which is more than 10% of South Africa’s population.
“We have to make sure that each and every one of those members are taken care of, that their primary needs are put first, that communities are invested in; that is the essence of what a mutual does.”
In recent years AVBOB has also shone as an employer of choice, receiving the Top Employer Award from the Top Employers Institute three years in a row. “It is quite an achievement, a wonderful accolade as there are stringent criteria that organisations have to meet, ranging from equitable remuneration, transformation in terms of people, training, development; and we have been able to improve on this criteria every year.
We are also proud of being a level 2 B-BBEE contributor. Many people have come through the various structures the company has and have proven themselves, and subsequently have been rewarded for their efforts despite their background. I am proof of this and have been privileged to be part of AVBOB for 15 years. It is truly a unique business in the way it treats and acknowledges its people when it comes to career advancement.”
But AVBOB’s transformative ethos goes further than its employees and policyholders/members. It also places a high value on the communities it serves which it accomplishes through its involvement with enterprise development initiatives and various CSI projects.
“We are serious about enterprise development. For one, on the funeral side of our business we identify people within the communities we serve to become funeral undertakers. We provide them with training, infrastructure, we identify premises whether to buy or rent, we fully equip the branch at our own expense, and we provide it to these community members to run it as if it is their own business.
Furthermore, they are responsible for identifying small businesses in the same communities which they can support through appointing them as service providers, whether it is catering, the provision of family cars, tents, flowers, etc.”
As far as he is aware, Pillay believes AVBOB is the only business in South Africa that creates entrepreneurship in this manner, establishing business opportunities as funeral undertakers where entrepreneurs do not require a huge capital outlay to start and run their own businesses. “We provide that ‘start-up capital’ for them to do that.”
Regarding CSI, AVBOB has partnered with the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) Sanitation Appropriate For Education (SAFE) project to help with the huge challenge faced by many schools, especially in the rural areas that don’t have proper sanitation. “Together with the DBE we have looked at how we can assist by building sanitation facilities. Also, our AVBOB Industries factory in Bloemfontein has piloted a mobile sanitation unit that uses shipping containers - which we also refurbish and stock with books for our school libraries project - that you can basically plug in to the sewerage system to provide sanitation facilities in schools. We hope the department sees this as a good opportunity to meet the shortfall we have in schools regarding sanitation facilities.”
To watch past Saturday’s interview with Pillay, click here: https://youtu.be/neWmxkDBcHQ
In this coming Saturday morning’s episode, Pillay joins Business that matters to discuss AVBOB’s product innovation regarding Aquamation as well as its International Repatriation Service. Tune in to VIA this Saturday, 4 July, from 8:30 - 9:30 for the interview.
AVBOB can be contacted for all customer enquiries and needs vi.a its national call centre which operates 24/7. Clients should call 0861 28 26 21. Standard call rates apply.
*Benefits only apply if AVBOB Funeral Service conducts the funeral
AVBOB sets itself apart in SA funeral service and insurance space - June 2020
Speaking on Besigheid wat saak maak (Business that matters), the new TV business-breakfast show on VIA (DStv channel 147) this past Saturday, AVBOB’s CEO Carl van der Riet says that despite the increased competition regarding funeral insurance in South Africa, AVBOB is the only group that can offer its clients an end-to-end combination service of both funeral insurance and funeral services.
“Where many of the other companies are only insurers, we are not. So, when it comes to an insurance claim, others tend to deal with it as purely a cash payment, a financial transaction. With AVBOB the culture is different because we know that is not where our relationship with you ends. With us it carries on through the whole funeral process, through the grieving, through the bereavement, right through to finally laying your loved ones to rest. We make sure we are there every step of the way – the whole journey.”
Van der Riet adds that this creates a totally different dynamic as their service is far more relationship and empathy based. And because AVBOB has a national footprint it can guarantee this quality service wherever in the country clients find themselves.
Another unique attribute of AVBOB is that it is a mutual society which means it does not have shareholders. “We only have our members who are our policyholders. Being a mutual, we are also able to provide unique benefits to our members that other insurers can’t. For instance, every one of the more than 6.8 million lives in South Africa that we cover is entitled to a FREE basic funeral* at any of our AVBOB funeral branches across the country.”
Despite the mutual’s proud legacy of 103 years, Van der Riet emphasises that it is very cognisant of the fact that they cannot become arrogant or complacent. “We must remain humble and we have to remain close to our clients and be attentive to their needs.”
“We are only seen to be as good as our last interaction with the client. Even though we do thousands of funerals across the country each month, for each of the families it is their only funeral. So, one has to be very cognisant of this and make sure that the service, support and empathy we give each family is everything that they need in that moment. We can never step back and think that we have arrived.”
AVBOB’s funeral service staff are frontline workers and have been working right through the COVID-19 pandemic to serve the country. And although the group has experience in dealing with infectious diseases like Ebola, TB, and HIV, it is fully aware of the new dangers that the coronavirus brings and the extra special precautions that are required. “AVBOB’s main priority is the safety of its employees. We put that above all else.”
Van der Riet says the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the group’s ability to adapt to rapid changes. “This crisis has really revealed a whole lot to us about who we are as individuals and as a business. It has shown us that we are capable of far more than we previously thought or imagined. For example, when lockdown kicked in, we managed to move our entire head office structure of over 700 people off site to a remote working environment in the space of less than two weeks. This is something that I am very proud of and is a testimony of the calibre of team we have.
In AVBOB we firmly believe that we are a family. And the values of family endure. As a matter of fact, one of our founding members said: ‘Take care of the people and the rest will follow.’ And that philosophy still underlies the way we work and how we engage with our employees. So, taking care of them is our top priority. Which we do through constant communication. It is through listening closely, by understanding what they are going through, their fears and insecurities during this time.”
The lockdown regulations have had a significant impact on AVBOB’s sales operations which consist of a very large tied agent force. These commission earners have not been able to work. “The crisis has had a significant impact on them, so we have supported them through this process to make sure that they stay with us and are included going forward.”
He adds, however, that in the Funeral Service business it has been more complex trying to explain to bereaved families who have lost loved ones why they cannot observe some of their traditions and religious practices at the time of the funeral. This is as a result of COVID-19 regulations.
Looking to the future, Van der Riet says that social distancing is going to become a real challenge in terms of AVBOB’s insurance sales operations. And although the administration and client service operations will continue running as they always have, there will be innovation in the way product is taken to market. As far as the group’s tied insurance agents are concerned, digitisation has become a big part of the facilitation process.
However, it is on the funeral side where AVBOB is already seeing changes in burial practices emanating from COVID-19. “It remains to be seen as to how the practices emerge once the restrictions are lifted. This is whether they remain as they are now or revert to how they were before. We are used to dealing with a wide variety of different practices every day and our position is not to try and drive behaviours. Our position is to serve people in the way they really want to be served and to facilitate their processes and their journey through the event.”
To watch past Saturday’s interview with Van der Riet, click here: https://youtu.be/YKfqRGAI1sc
In this coming Saturday morning’s episode, AVBOB’s Marketing Director, Deno Pillay, joins Business that Matters to discuss the importance of the AVBOB brand, what sets the group apart as a mutual as well as entrepreneur empowerment and enterprise development. Tune in to VIA this Saturday, 27 June, from 8:30 - 9:30 for the interview.
AVBOB can be contacted for all customer enquiries and needs via its national call centre which operates 24/7. Clients should call 0861 28 26 21. Standard call rates apply.
*Benefits only apply if AVBOB Funeral Service conducts the funeral.
AVBOB shines bright on new TV business breakfast show - July 2020
The 1-hour show featured every Saturday morning from 8:30 – 9:30 on VIA (DStv channel 147) looks at business as the heartbeat of modern society – on all levels. The exciting show targets all business in all sectors, big or small, and focuses especially on business matters of social importance. Furthermore, it also looks at the positive side of South African businesses that, especially in the current, difficult economic climate is of vital importance.
The programme gives consumers the opportunity to see what businesses are available out there, and for them to meet the personalities behind these organisations – something that in today’s business environment is often lost. After all, business is ultimately about people buying products and services from other people!
Funeral services and insurance group AVBOB is glad to be associated with the show, as it fits in perfectly with its own ethos of serving the South African public for more than 100 years.
In this past weekend’s show, Adriaan Bester, AVBOB’s General Manager of Corporate Affairs, shared how AVBOB is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing that the mutual society is no stranger to crises, having dealt with several since its inception in 1918.
“Other than the valuable experience the funeral service provider and insurer has gained in dealing with disaster situations in the past, it also has sufficient scale based on its more than 200 funeral offices all over South Africa in properly dealing with an increase in deaths brought about by any pandemic.
The first thing we had to do when the lockdown was introduced, was to structure the organisation’s head office and insurance infrastructure in such a way that our personnel could continue with their work from home. Our funeral branches, of course, have remained open.”
Other than introducing measures to its normal procedures in order to protect its staff and clients, government also laid out stringent measures around burial and cremation processes and protocols that funeral service providers like AVBOB have to adhere to during the lockdown period, for instance the limit of 50 people that are permitted to attend a funeral.
“Adhering to all the regulations is not always easy for our clients, especially since they are already going through a difficult time in dealing with the death of a loved one. But people generally understand why the measures are in place and why we have to adhere to them. We do everything in our power to soften the impact and centre our efforts on each individual family and their needs.”
Mourners can build online memorial page
To assist even further in this regard, the mutual society has introduced a first ever digital multi-platform that allows families and friends of a deceased to build a memorial page online where they can share their sentiments with each other. AVBOB’s new platform is also a first to allow participation from contributors via USSD which is a cost-effective communication platform that South Africans use to interact with brands. This, again, epitomises that AVBOB creates products and services that cater for all South Africans.
AVBOB is also investigating the possibility of repurposing its chapels for livestreaming of funeral and memorial services. So, whilst the number of actual attendees at a funeral is limited to 50 people, this allows an unrestricted number of people to livestream a memorial service.
AVBOB takes special precautions when dealing with deaths caused by COVID-19. Staff are equipped with protective clothing and equipment to ensure that they, and their clients, are properly protected while ensuring that the deceased is treated with the utmost dignity and respect.
AVBOB is also playing a crucial role on the Corporate Social Investment front where it has identified organisations it can work with, especially those involved with providing food relief. Other than the Group and its personnel’s contribution of R4.73 million to the government’s Solidarity Fund, it has also made donations to existing food programmes like Soul Food as well as new initiatives that were set up to assist with the severe food needs that have risen. AVBOB has also donated protection equipment and even made some alterations to its factory in Bloemfontein to produce protection equipment.
To watch past Saturday’s interview with Bester, click here: https://youtu.be/B0fPDgDg8Ug
In this coming Saturday morning’s episode, AVBOB’s CEO, Carl van der Riet, joins Business that Matters presenter Rozanne McKenzie to discuss the importance of AVBOB’s front-line workers and what they are dealing with during COVID-19. Tune in to VIA (DStv channel 147) this Saturday, 20 June, from 8:30 – 9:30 for the interview.
AVBOB can be contacted for all customer enquiries and needs via its national call centre which operates 24/7. Clients should call 0861 28 26 21. Standard call rates apply.
AVBOB's response to COVID-19
How to pay your AVBOB premiums during lockdown
- Pay@ online payment service
- Pay@ in-store payment service
AVBOB staff and executives contribute to Solidarity Fund
AVBOB’s CEO Carl van der Riet says that the mutual society will make an upfront donation of R3 million to the fund. “AVBOB also committed to match any voluntary employee contributions, rand for rand, up to a value of a further R2 million. The support from our staff has been overwhelming and has led to them contributing R865 000 over the next three months. The response from employees recognises the fact that as a designated essential service, we are able to keep working and serving our communities throughout the pandemic.”
Hence, AVBOB’s total donation, together with its employee contribution amounts to R4.73 million.
The President announced the establishment of the fund, which was set up to aid the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in late March.
Since then the fund has received contributions from across the board, including large corporations to smaller businesses and thousands of individuals including the President, government ministers and company executives, that have committed to contribute fixed portions of their salaries.
Van der Riet said that it is important that every South African pull together and play their part in assisting where they can in combatting the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. “At this time AVBOB is committed to doing all we can to serve South Africa with empathy, care and dignity.”
We're here for you! Update to clients on AVBOB's business operations
We are living in exceptional times and life as we know it has changed dramatically in a short space of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These past few weeks has made me realise how adaptable we, as South Africans, are. It has also made me realise that in future we will be more capable of adapting and growing in new ways and that we are ready for whatever change may come. We will continue to learn many new lessons over the next weeks and months and we will make sure that these lessons are put to good use in future. I am confident that the South Africa that will emerge from this crisis will be stronger and more united than ever before.
As an institution that has served the nation since 1918, we would like to reassure all our clients and policyholders of AVBOB’s continued commitment to excellence. All operations are functioning effectively and we are continuing to serve our customers despite the external challenges.
Remember to continue your premium payments in order to maintain your valuable cover and to be eligible for AVBOB’s free funeral benefits. AVBOB funeral offices will be open during normal business hours and will be able to offer full service to customers, including policy amendments and premium payments.
Connect with us:
Our Funeral Agents are available 24 hours a day for collection of the deceased. Clients and members of the public are requested to call 0861 28 26 21 for urgent funeral service assistance. Our Claims Department is operational and we will ensure that all claims are attended to. For policy amendments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For important updates or to connect with us please make use of our social media platforms.
I urge all our policyholders and clients to please continue to observe the lockdown regulations and stay safe.
CARL VAN DER RIET
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Serving South Africa during the COVID-19 crisis…AVBOB offers funeral care and dignity when it matters most
At AVBOB, we are acutely sensitive to the fear and anxiety around the COVID-19 outbreak. Irrespective of our religious and cultural backgrounds, we are living through an extraordinary time – a time of great challenge and upheaval for us as a nation. At this time AVBOB is committed to doing all we can to serve South Africa with empathy, care and dignity.
As a nation, we are working together to flatten the infection curve and contain the spread of COVID-19. In spite of the virus, the cycle of life continues, with the loss of loved ones through old age and other causes. In view of this, AVBOB’s Funeral Service offices have been authorised to operate as an essential service, while our insurance administration staff work remotely to take care of policies and claims.
Government has also laid out stringent measures around burial and cremation processes and protocols during this lockdown period. AVBOB will be fully compliant with all precautionary measures and legalities in order to protect the broader population. This may entail inescapable compromises in religious rites and rituals, and, for grieving families already facing loss, may add a further layer of stress to an already difficult time.
For all of us, the prohibition of night vigils over this period, the limit on the number of people attending the funeral to 50, the cross-provincial travel restrictions, and our inability to commiserate through close contact will have a huge impact. There are also stringent rules in place around the preparation of the deceased for burial or cremation. For deeply religious or strongly traditional communities, we realise the tremendous personal and spiritual toll this will take on them. But we will do everything in our power to soften the impact, and will centre our efforts on each individual family and their needs.
To this end, in non-COVID-19 cases, AVBOB will permit viewings at our funeral branches nationwide for the immediate family, but will ensure this takes place within the framework of social distancing and special hygiene requirements. AVBOB Funeral Service representatives will meet with each family to discuss, amongst other things, the list of attendees – limited to 50 – and the correct hygiene protocols at the graveside. The names and contact numbers of the attendees must be submitted to AVBOB, but will be protected in terms of the POPI Act. In the event of a COVID-19-positive case, this will enable the family to track and notify all those who attended.
Beyond that, says General Manager of Corporate Affairs, Adriaan Bester, AVBOB is looking into using technology to bring people together across distances. “We want to implement virtual services, particularly where we have chapels, and where we have the necessary infrastructure in place. In the past, some people felt that broadcasting a funeral was odd. But, through this crisis, AVBOB has realised the importance of coming together in novel ways. We believe that people will realise the value of introducing innovative technologies, and we aim to encourage that change.”
AVBOB is no stranger to change and is usually the first port of call when new challenges arise, and we were tasked with conducting the funerals of two of the first COVID-19 cases in South Africa.
Regarding repatriation, AVBOB acknowledges the difficulties that our customers face. Global families are the new normal, with parents, children and grandchildren scattered around the world. This makes the repatriation of loved ones extremely difficult during the pandemic, not just globally, but locally, across borders and districts. We advise our clients to plan for delayed memorials post-lockdown and, where permitted, to opt for cremation.
AVBOB has put every possible protocol in place to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and customers, but the greatest protection of all will come from behavioural changes. Studies by leading epidemiologists across the world confirm that changes in human habits are the best way to end a pandemic.
Bester believes that events such as the COVID-19 crisis compel us to re-evaluate our humanity, adopt new learnings, and adapt to changes that must be made: “As a business, we have evolved with the times. We continually re-examine how we deal with our loved ones who have passed, and how we ritualise our burials.”
In all of this, AVBOB wants to assure all South Africans that, given our wealth of experience, clients can expect the utmost care, empathy and sensitivity within the current guidelines and regulatory framework, no matter what may come.
How will the lockdown affect funerals?
What essential services will AVBOB provide during the lockdown?
Policyholders can call AVBOB on 0861 28 26 21 or e-mail email@example.com
For AVBOB funeral services:
- Collection and transport of the deceased
- Funeral arrangement meetings with only four family members
- Collection of death certificates
- Booking of the grave
- Preparation and coffining of the deceased
- Execution of funeral or cremation service
- AVBOB policy claims
Will AVBOB Funeral Service be available during the lockdown?
Number of people attending a funeral during the lockdown
Further to this, AVBOB will keep record of all people attending a funeral service in our chapels by recording the name, surname and contact number. This will assist in tracking the individuals in case one of the guests tests positive at a later stage
Will AVBOB’s call centre be operational during the lockdown?
How will AVBOB protect its employees and customers during this lockdown period?
Will policy claims be processed during the lockdown?
How will a family arrange a funeral during the lockdown?
Will there be transportation of the deceased during the nationwide lockdown?
What will happen if a branch has a COVID-19 case?
How will AVBOB handle a COVID-19 deceased?
Cape Talk Interview on 30 March 2020 of Mr Adriaan Bester, General Manager: Corporate Affairs, explaining funeral services procedures during the COVID19 Lockdown
RSG Interview with Mr Adriaan Bester, General Manager: Corporate Affairs, explaining funeral services procedures during the COVID19 Lockdown &nbps;
AVBOB bou op groeiprestasie ten spyte van taai handelstoestande - November 2019
AVBOB rejects jobs for cash social media post - June 2019
We are calling on all members of the social media community to refrain from sharing or referring anyone to these posts. AVBOB is investigating the matter and we will be taking the necessary steps to ensure that the perpetrators are apprehended.
AVBOB will only advertise vacancies on the company’s official platforms such as the AVBOB South Africa Facebook page, AVBOBSA Twitter page or company website: www.avbob.co.za.
AVBOB encourages all members of our community to be more vigilant when applying for jobs. Under no circumstances should people make payment for any vacancies claiming to be from AVBOB.
Qhubeka Bicycle Project in collaboration with AVBOB - June 2019
Onderhoud met Frik Rademan - RSG - Mei 2019
Interview with Frik Rademan - RSG - May 2019
AVBOB opens unique museum in Bloemfontein - February 2019
“Approximately four years ago, we opened a museum at our head office in Pretoria, but the limited space soon made us realise that we needed a bigger venue,” he explained. And although a number of possibilities were explored, the ultimate decision was really a foregone conclusion. “From the word go, everybody agreed that the best location would be in Bloemfontein, as this is, after all, where AVBOB started just over 100 years ago,” he said.
Rademan pointed out that the museum should be seen as more than merely supplementary to the celebration of AVBOB’s centenary in 2018, as well as the release of ‘From Saving a People to Serving a Nation’, a book about the company’s history.
“Of course our centenary celebrations, of which the book forms part, are important media for sharing our story, but the museum is just as important, as it is a multidimensional medium of communication which will continue to grow and develop over time,” he said.
During the process of collecting artefacts, AVBOB did extensive research to determine their historical significance and value and realised that many items of historical value had gone missing over the years. “Those items are probably lost forever, hence the importance of making sure that it doesn’t happen in our lifetime,” Rademan said.
Fortunately, he pointed out, a large variety of artefacts remained. “As a collector of model cars, I was particularly thrilled to see the beautiful collection of model hearses, the majority of which were donated by the late Dr Chris Molyneux,” he said.
In closing Rademan thanked everyone who had been involved in getting the museum established, from the AVBOB staff to one of their most loyal pensioners, Paul de Lange.
“Our gratitude is not only for all your efforts in getting this worthy initiative off the ground, but for using it as a way of representing the essence of what AVBOB is all about: A mutual society built on the value of compassion and an organisation offering a one-stop shop in the funeral industry,” he concluded.
Address of the new AVBOB History Museum:
14 First Avenue, Westdene, Bloemfontein
The AVBOB Group comprises three operating divisions: AVBOB Insurance, which offers a comprehensive range of funeral policies; AVBOB Funeral Service offering affordable one-stop funeral services; and AVBOB Industries, which manufactures coffins, wreaths and funeralware.
Lessons in hope and excellence: The 2019 National Teaching Awards - February 2019
The 19th annual NTA ceremony, hosted by Basic Education Minister, Mrs Angie Motshekga, was a celebration to honour the past year’s national winners.
“The NTA is one of the ways in which the Department of Basic Education (DBE) acknowledges the extraordinary efforts made by teachers, often in very difficult conditions,” explained Minister Motshekga.
Underpinned by its long association with the DBE, AVBOB has been sponsoring the National Teaching Awards for the past four years – a commitment they have found most rewarding. “We love teachers and the contribution they make to the development of our children,” says AVBOB CEO, Frik Rademan. “This year, teachers’ presentations at every level of the stringent selection process showed innovation, creativity, excellence and the extent to which they go the extra mile, often in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.” This, he says, demonstrates not only that South Africa has outstanding teachers, but that the winners are truly the best amongst the best.
AVBOB donated three Renault Kwid Expression cars to the NTA and these were awarded to the first-place winners at the awards ceremony. The following teachers in different categories drove away in their brand new cars:
Excellence in Primary School Teaching – Ms Phenyo Victorian Koka from Dikubu Primary School in Limpopo
Excellence in Primary School Leadership – Mr Thobya Marcus Matsebane from Rapoho Primary School in Limpopo
Grade R Teaching - Ms Lezanne Gail De Beer from Sunrise View Primary School in the North West
In addition, AVBOB rewarded cash prizes to the total value of R87 000 to the first-, second- and third-place winners in the remaining categories.
The NTA is a comprehensive process that commences in the provinces with the nomination, identification and sifting through of expertise and excellence in the teaching profession, and includes teachers from a range of South African schools. After provincial processes that culminate with award ceremonies, the provincial winners proceed to national eliminations through an adjudication process overseen by various stakeholders. A total of 90 finalists from 10 categories across all nine provinces made presentations for the 19th annual NTA.
AVBOB’s support of the NTA forms part of their comprehensive involvement with Corporate Social Investment initiatives aimed at improving literacy in previously disadvantaged schools across South Africa. The organisation’s contributions include the donation of more than 50 fully-stocked container libraries to under-privileged schools, the commitment of R135 million to the Schools Infrastructure Project and, more recently, an investment of R15 million to the Sanitation Appropriate for Education Initiative (SAFE) – all in cooperation with the DBE.
“Against the background of AVBOB’s heart-felt commitment to improving literacy in South Africa, our appreciation for our teachers runs very deep,” explained Rademan. “We have a committed and inspired vision of a great South Africa and we hope that our legacy of creating opportunities to further education will assist to create a brighter future for the children of our nation,” he concluded.
From profits to poetry: AVBOB AGM reflects and celebrates excellence - November 2018
Business model reflects family values
Professor Delport voiced his gratitude for having been Chairman of the Board at this stage of an inspiring journey, applauding the uniqueness and success of AVBOB’s business model. “Our business model is at the heart of everything we do,” he explained. “It supports our growth and defi nes the activities we engage in, the relationships we depend on and the outputs and outcomes we aim to achieve. Our purpose is to create value for all our stakeholders in the short, medium and long term”. Re-emphasising AVBOB’s positioning as a family, Delport further pointed out that the AVBOB of today is a blueprint for the manner in which the entire South African population should be served. This is underpinned by the Society’s assurance of dignity for their clients when it is needed most.
Significant profit growth
AVBOB CEO, Frik Rademan, announced that the Group’s profit before transfer to policyholder liabilities increased from R1,1 billion to R2,2 billion for the year, as a result of strong operational performance and the performance of investment markets. Rademan noted that a large portion of the profit in 2017/2018 was utilised to improve policyholder benefits, increasing the surplus allocated for the improvement of benefits over the last eleven years to R10 billion. These allocations include FREE funeral benefits and FREE policy benefit improvements. The FREE funeral benefits are available to all members who conduct a funeral with AVBOB Funeral Service. The FREE funeral benefits currently include a FREE basic funeral to the value of R11 000, FREE transportation of the deceased within the borders of South Africa and R2 500 cash upfront which the family can use as they deem fit*. These benefits are over and above the value of the insured amount of the policy.
Rich centenary rewards
Also featuring on the agenda, was the occasion of AVBOB’s centenary held on 15 August 2018. To commemorate this milestone, a number of celebratory events were arranged during which the Society announced that it had allocated R3,5 billion to policyholders through a new policy benefit known as the AVBOB Reward Account. The allocation provides AVBOB policyholders the opportunity to share in the long-term success of the Society. Policyholders will be entitled to claim the amount in the AVBOB Reward Account after the main life insured reaches the age of 65, subject to the policy having been in force for at least 10 years*. Furthermore, true to our family values, AVBOBawarded a nominal centenary bonus payment to all staff and pensioners (excluding senior management) as a token of appreciation for their contribution to the success of the Society.
Keeping literacy and poetry alive
Various other ground-breaking initiatives, spearheaded by AVBOB, led up to the centenary event. “As a committed and engaged corporate citizen, and in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education, we announced that we would donate R150 million towards the renovation and refurbishment of schools across the country,” explains Rademan. “In August 2017, we launched a nationwide online poetry project in all 11 official languages to bring our brand promise, ‘We’re here for you’, to life.” A 100- poem print anthology, titled ‘I wish I’d said…’, was created from the entries received, together with specially commissioned poems from South Africa’s top poets. Says Rademan, “It has been a great privilege to celebrate our centenary milestone and ongoing success of the Group during this year.”
Rademan’s excitement was palpable when he announced that the AVBOB Group had received a raft of accolades in key areas. “The Group retained its certifi cation as a Top Employer. The Society was voted the winner of the Financial Services: Funeral Cover category in the 2017/2018 Icon Brands Survey for the third consecutive year, and the winner of the Financial Services: Funeral Cover category in the Ask Afrika Kasi Star 2017/2018 Township Brands Survey. The Group also received the Ask Africa Orange Index award for the Best Service in the Funeral Industry for the third consecutive year. The AVBOB Poetry Project won four Prism Awards that recognise Excellence in Public Relations, and the Group’s advertising agency, BRAND et al, won the Best Marketing Campaign in Financial and Utility Services at the international Media and Marketing Global Awards (MMG) for the project.” In addition to these the brand also raked in a prestigious Pendoring award and seven Assegai awards since inception of the project.
Rademan closed on a positive note and expressed his gratitude to everyone who had contributed to the Group’s success.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2017/2018 FINANCIAL YEAR
- Net new insurance business grew by 9.2% during the year, and 180.4% over the past seven years.
- Premium income increased by 16.1% during the year to R3,6 billion, and 181.5% over the past seven years.
- Total assets increased by 176.3%; over the past seven years to R17,1 billion.
- The number of policyholders increased by 63.2% over the past seven years, from 1,19 million at 30 June 2011 to 1,95 million at 30 June 2018.
- Funerals conducted increased by 9.2% over the year, and 39.4% over the past seven years.
AVBOB is an Authorised Financial Services Provider. FSP 20656.
Van profyt tot poësie: AVBOB-algemene jaarvergadering weerspieël en vier uitnemendheid - November 2018
Besigheidsmodel weerspieël familiewaardes
Professor Delport het sy dankbaarheid uitgespreek vir sy posisie as voorsitter van die raad in hierdie stadium van ‘n inspirerende reis, en ook sy lof vir die uniekheid en sukses van AVBOB se besigheidsmodel. “Ons besigheidsmodel vorm die hartklop van alles wat ons doen,” het hy verduidelik. “Dit is die rugsteun van ons groei en bepaal die aktiwiteite waarby ons betrokke raak, die verhoudings waarop ons staatmaak en die uitsette en resultate wat ons ten doel het om te bereik. Ons doel is om waarde vir al ons belanghebbers oor die kort- medium- en langtermyn te skep.” Met spesiale verwysing na AVBOB se posisionering as ‘n familie, het Delport daarop gewys dat die AVBOB van vandag ‘n bloudruk is vir die manier waarop die hele Suid-Afrikaanse bevolking bedien behoort te word. Dit word onderlê deur die genootskap se klem op waardigheid vir hul kliënte wanneer dit die nodigste is.
Merkwaardige groei in opbrengs
AVBOB se hoof- uitvoerende beampte, Frik Rademan, het aangekondig dat die Groep se opbrengs, voor oordrag aan polishouersverpligtinge, gestyg het vanaf R1,1 miljard tot R2,2 miljard vir die jaar, danksy sterk bedryfsprestasie, asook die prestasie van beleggingsmarkte. Rademan het daarop gewys dat ‘n groot persentasie van die opbrengs in 2017/2018 gebruik is om polishouersvoordele te verbeter, wat die surplus wat oor die afgelope 11 jaar toegewys is vir die verbetering van voordele, tot R10 miljard verhoog. Hierdie toewysings behels GRATIS begrafnisvoordele en GRATIS verbeterde polisvoordele. Die GRATIS begrafnisvoordele is beskikbaar vir alle lede wat ‘n begrafnis deur AVBOB Begrafnisdiens laat doen. Dié voordele sluit tans ‘n GRATIS basiese begrafnis ter waarde van R11 000 in, asook GRATIS vervoer van die oorledene binne die grense van Suid-Afrika, en ‘n kontant uitbetaling van R2 500 wat die familie na goeddunke kan aanwend. Hierdie voordele is bo en behalwe die waarde van die versekerde bedrag van die polis*.
Nog ‘n belangrike punt op die agenda was die viering van AVBOB se 100ste bestaansjaar wat op 15 Augustus 2018 plaasgevind het. Om hierdie mylpaal te vier, is ‘n aantal spesiale geleenthede gereël waartydens die genootskap aangekondig het dat R3.5 miljard aan polishouers toegewys sal word in die vorm van ‘n nuwe polisvoordeel, die AVBOBBeloningsrekening. Dié toewysing bied aan AVBOB-polishouers die geleentheid om in die langtermyn sukses van die genootskap te deel. Polishouers is geregtig om die bedrag in die Beloningsrekening op te eis wanneer die hoofversekerde die ouderdom van 65 bereik, mits die polis vir minstens 10 jaar van krag was*. As ‘n verdere bewys van ons familiewaardes, het AVBOB ook ‘n nominale eeufeesbonusbetaling gemaak aan alle personeel en pensionarisse (senior bestuur uitgesluit) as ‘n blyk van waardering vir hul bydrae tot die Groep se sukses.
Nuwe lewe vir geletterdheid en poësie
Verskeie ander baanbreker-inisiatiewe is deur AVBOB van stapel gestuur in aanloop tot die eeufeesgeleentheid. “As ‘n toegewyde en betrokke korporatiewe burger het ons in samewerking met die Departement van Basiese Onderwys aangekondig dat ons R150 miljoen ten bate van die opknapping en toerusting van skole regoor die land sal skenk,” het Rademan verduidelik. “In Augustus 2017 het ons ‘n landwye aanlyn poësieprojek in al 11 ampstale bekendgestel om ons handelsmerkbelofte, ‘Ons is hier vir jou’, vir mense dinamies en werklik te maak. ‘n Gedrukte bloemlesing, getiteld ‘Ek wou nog sê…’, is geskep uit die inskrywings wat ontvang is, saam met gedigte wat Suid-Afrika se topdigters in opdrag van AVBOB geskryf het. Dit was ‘n groot voorreg om vanjaar die mylpaal van ons eeufeesviering en die volgehoue sukses van die Groep te vier,” sê Rademan.
Rademan se opgewondenheid was amper tasbaar tydens sy aankondiging dat die AVBOB-groep die afgelope jaar ‘n verskeidenheid toekennings in sleutelareas ingepalm het. “Die Groep het sy sertifi kasie as ‘n Top Employer behou. Die genootskap is vir die derde opeenvolgende jaar aangewys as wenner van die Finansiëledienste: Begrafnisdekkingskategorie in die 2017/2018 Icon Brands Survey, en as wenner van die Finansiëledienste: Begrafnisdekkingskategorie in die Ask Afrika Kasi Star 2017/2018 Township Brands Survey. Die Groep het ook vir die derde opeenvolgende jaar die Ask Afrika Orange Indextoekenning ontvang vir die Beste Diens in die Begrafnisbedryf. Die AVBOB Poësieprojek het vier Prism-toekennings ingepalm vir Uitnemendheid in Openbare Betrekkinge, en die Groep se reklameagentskap, BRAND et al, het ‘n internasionale toekenning gewen vir die Beste Bemarkingsveldtog in Finansiële- en Nutsdienste by die Media en Marketing Global Awards (MMG) in Londen vir die poësieprojek.” Daarbenewens het die handelsmerk ook sedert die ontstaan van die poësieprojek ‘n gesogte Pendoring-toekenning en sewe Assegai-toekennings ingepalm.
Rademan het op ‘n positiewe noot afgesluit en sy dankbaarheid uitgespreek teenoor elkeen wat tot die Groep se sukses bygedra het.
HOOGTEPUNTE VIR DIE 2017/2018 FINANSIËLE JAAR
- Netto nuwe versekering besigheid, en metgegroei met 9.2% vanjaar het 180.4% oor die afgelope sewe jaar.
- Premie-inkomste het vanjaar met 16.1% tot R3,6 miljard verhoog, en met 181.5% oor die afgelope sewe jaar.
- Totale bates het met 176.3% verhoog; oor die afgelope sewe jaar tot R17,1 miljard.
- Die getal polishouers het met 63.2% oor die afgelope sewe jaar toegeneem, vanaf 1,19 miljoen op 30 Junie 2011 tot 1,95 miljoen op 30 Junie 2018.
- Begrafnisse uitgevoer het gedurende die jaar met 9.2% verhoog, en met 39.4% oor die afgelope sewe jaar.
AVBOB is ’n Gemagtigde Verskaffer van Finansiële Dienste. VFD 20656.
Ukusuka enzuzweni kuza ezikondlweni: I-AVBOB AGM ibonisa futhi ihalalisele impumelelo
Indlela yebhizinisi ebonisa ukwazisa umndeni
UNjingalwazi Delport wabonisa ukubonga ngokuba nguSihlalo waleli Bhodi Labaqondisi ngalesi sikhathi esithakazelisayo, ebabaza impumelelo nokuba yingqalizivele kwendlela yebhizinisi le AVBOB. Wachaza wathi “Indlela yethu yebhizinisi ingumgogodla wakho konke esikwenzayo”. “Impumelelo yethu isekelwe kuyona futhi yiyona enquma esikwenzayo, ubudlelwano esithembele kubona nemigomo esizimisele ukuyifi nyelela. Ngamafuphi injongo yethu wukuletha impumelelo kubo bonke esisebenzisana nabo, esikhathini esifushane, esiphakathi neside esizayo”. Ephinda egcizelela indlela ye AVBOB yokusebenza njengomndeni, uDelport wachaza ukuthi lendlela yokusebenza kwe AVBOB yanamuhla yiyona ndlela okufanele ngabe bonke abakhele iNingizimu Afrika basetshenzelwa ngayo. Lokhu kugcizelelwa yisiqinisekiso sale Nhlangano sokunikeza amaklayente ayo isithunzi lapho esidinga kakhulu.
Inzuzo ebonakala ngempela
UMphathi Jikelele we AVBOB, uFrik Rademan, wachaza ukuthi inzuzo yale Nkampani isiyonke ngaphambi kokukhokhela izidingo zabanikazi bamapholisi ikhule isuka ku R1,1 billion ukuya ku R2,2 billion onyakeni, ngenxa yokusebenza kahle nempumelelo etholakale ezimakethe zokutshala imali. URademan uphawule nokuthi ingxenye enkulu yenzuzo ka 2017/2018 isetshenziselwe ukuphucula izinzuzo zabanikazi bamapholisi, kwakhuphuka nemali yokuphucula izinzuzo kuleminyaka eyishumi nanye edlule yaze yafi nyelela ku R10 billion. Kulemali kubalwa izinzuzo zomngcwabo WAMAHHALA nokuthuthukiswa kwezinzuo ZAMAHHALA ezitholakala kwipholisi. Izinzuzo zomngcwabo WAMAHHALA zitholwa yiwo wonke amalunga angcwaba nge AVBOB Funeral Service. Okwamanje lezi zinzuzo ZAMAHHALA zokungcwaba zihlanganisa umngcwabo ojwayelekile wenani lika R11 000 owenzelwa MAHHALA, ukuthuthwa kwesidumbu MAHHALA ngaphakathi kwemingcele ye Ningizimu Afrika kanye no R2 500 onikezwa umndeni esandleni ngaphambi komngcwabo abangawusebenzisa ngendlela ababona ngayo. Lezi zinzuzo zitholakala ngaphezu kwenani elikhokhwa yipholisi*.
Imiklomelo enothile yeminyaka eyikhulu
Enye indaba ephambili eyadingidwa, kwakuwumcimbi we AVBOB weminyaka eyikhulu owawenziwe mhlaka 15 August 2018. Ukugubha lesi sigameko esikhulu, kwakuhlelwe izenzakalo eziningi zokuhalalisa lapho le Nhlangano yamemezela ukuthi ibekele ecaleni u-R3,5 billion ozodluliselwa kubanikazi bamapholisi ngenzuzo entsha eyaziwa ngokuthi yi AVBOB Reward Account. Lenzuzo inikeza abanikazi bamapholisi be AVBOB ithuba lokuhlanganyela empumelelweni yesikhathi eside yeNkampani. Abanikazi bamapholisi bazoba nelungelo lokufaka isibizo ku AVBOB Reward Account ngemva kokuba umnikazi wepholisi esefi nyelele iminyaka yobudala engu 65, kuye ngokuthi ipholisi ibilokhu ikhona futhi iqhubeka okungenani iminyaka eyi 10*. Phezu kwalokho, ngenxa yokwazisa kwethu umndeni, i-AVBOB inikeze ibhonasi yeminyaka eyikhulu kubo bonke abasebenzi kuhlanganise nalabo asebathatha umhlala phansi (ngaphandle kwabaphathi abaphezulu) njengendlela yokubonga ingxenye ababa nayo empumelelweni yeNkampani.
Kuphakanyiswe ukufunda nezinkondlo
Kube khona nezenzo eziyingqalizivele, ezenziwe yi AVBOB, eziholele kulomcimbi weminyaka eyikhulu. “Njengoba siyinkampani ezimisele ukusebenzisana nomphakathi, sibambisene noMnyango Wemfundo Eyisisekelo, siye samemezela ukuthi sizonikela ngo R150 million emsebenzini wokuvuselela nokulungiswa kwezikole ezweni kabanzi,” kwachaza uRademan. “Kwathi ngo August 2017, saqalisa umkhankaso kazwelonke wokubhala izinkondlo ku-inthanethi ngazo zonke izilimi ezingu 11 ezingokomthetho ukugcizelela isithembiso sesiqubulo sethu esithi, ‘Sihlala silindele ukukusiza’. Kulezo zinkondlo esazithola kwavela umqulu wezinkondlo eziyi 100, onesihloko esithi ‘Ngifi sa ukuba ngathi…’, owahlanganisa nezinkondlo ezazicelwe ngokukhethekile kumaciko aphambili ezinkondlo lapha eNingizimu Afrika. Umnu uRademan uqhubeka ngokuthi, “Kube yilungelo elikhulu kulonyaka ukugubha lelithuba eliyingqalizivele leminyaka eyikhulu kanye nempumelelo eqhubekayo yeNkampani.”
Izindondo ezisifanele ngempela
Ibicace bha injabulo ka Rademan lapho ememezela ukuthi i-AVBOB Group ithole inqwaba yezindondo ezibalulekile. “LeNkampani isigcinile isiqinisekiso sayo sokuba nguMqashi Ophambili. LeNkampani yavotelwa ukuthi iphume phambili Kwabezinkonzo Zezimali: Emkhakheni Womshwalense Wokungcwaba ku 2017/2018 Icon Brands Survey iminyaka emithathu ilandelana, yaphuma phambili Kwabezinkonzo Zezimali: Emkhakheni Womshwalense Wokungcwaba ku Ask Afrika Kasi Star 2017/2018 Township Brands Survey. LeNkampani ithole nendondo ye Ask Africa Orange Index ye Nkonzo Ephambili Embonini Yezokungcwaba iminyaka emithathu ilandelana. Umsebenzi we AVBOB Poetry wona uthole izindondo ezine ze Prism Awards eziphakamisa umsebenzi omuhle Kwezobudlelwano Nomphakathi, kanti inkampani ephathele leNkampani ezokukhangisa, i-BRAND et al, yona ngalomsebenzi ithole indondo ye Best Marketing Campaign KwabeziNkonzo Nosizo Lwezezimali emcimbini we international Media and Marketing Global Awards (MMG).” Ukwenezela kulokho lenkampani iphinde yathola ehloniphekile indondo ye Pendoring kanye nezindondo eziyisikhombisa ze Assegai selokhu yaqala ukwenza lomsebenzi. URademan uvale umcimbi ngelikhulu iqholo ebonga kubo bonke ababe neqhaza empumelelweni yale Nkampani.
- Phakathi nonyaka ibhizinisi elisha lomshwalense likhule ngo 9.2%, kanti likhule ngo 180.4% eminyakeni eyisikhombisa eyedlule.
- Phakathi nonyaka imali engeniswangama primiyamu ikhule ngo 16.1% yafi nyelela ku R3,6 billion, kanti eminyakeni eyisikhombisa eyedlule ikhule ngo 181.5%.
- Impahla yonke yenkampani ikhuphuke ngo 176.3%; eminyakeni eyisikhombisa eyedlule yayifi nyelele ku R17,1 billion.
- Inani labanikazi bamapholisi likhuphuke ngo 63.2% eminyakeni eyisikhombisa eyedlule, lisuka ku 1,19 million ngo 30 June 2011 laya ku 1,95 million ngo 30 June 2018.
- Imingcwabo eqhutshiwe ikhuphuke ngo 9.2% onyakeni odlule, kanti eminyakeni eyisikhombisa eyedlule ikhuphuke ngo 39.4%.
I-AVBOB nguMhlinzeki weziNkonzo Zezimali Osemthethweni. FSP 20656.
You must lift the bar every day: Frik Rademan - August 2018
AVBOB declares R3.5 Billion centennial benefit to members - August 2018
According to Frik Rademan, AVBOB Chief Executive Officer, “this year marks AVBOB’s 100th year in business. The R 3,5 billion benefit allocation provides AVBOB members the opportunity to share in the long-term success of the group. As a mutual society, AVBOB does not have shareholders who expect to receive dividends. We are able to s hare our profits with our members in the form of special bonuses and enhanced benefits – without the member incurring additional expense. This year, as part of our centenary celebrations, we decided to do something extra special for our members.”
Rademan explains that the ARA is a unique benefit that AVBOB’s members will be entitled to claim in cash after the main insured person reaches the age of 65, subject to the policy having been in force for at least 10 years*. “Every qualifying member will receive their share of the R 3,5 billion, that will be credited to their ARA. In the unfortunate event that the main insured person passes away prior to age 65, the full ARA balance will be paid out. Members therefore benefit from the ARA on either survival or death – which is as it should be for a member of our family,” he says.
Over the years AVBOB has increased the cover of their policyholders and members through special bonus declarations and introduced free member benefits that include a free basic funeral, free transportation of the deceased and an upfront payment of R2 500 to be spent as the families require. Money has also been allocated to create a six-month premium holiday for members should they become retrenched. These benefits are over and above the cover amount and are provided at no additional expense to members.
“Turning 100 is a significant achievement that not many companies can attest to achieving and we are extremely proud to have reached this milestone. We look forward to providing our members with many more years of care and service,” Rademan concluded.
AVBOB verklaar R3.5 Miljard eeufeesvoordeel aan lede - Augustus 2018
Volgens Frik Rademan, AVBOB se uitvoerende hoof, “is 2018 AVBOB se 100ste jaar in die bedryf. Die R 3.5 milard voordeeltoewysing bied aan AVBOB-lede die geleentheid om in die langtermyn sukses van die Groep te deel. As ‘n onderlinge genootskap het AVBOB nie aandeelhouers wat verwag om dividende te ontvang nie. Ons is in staat om ons opbrengste met ons lede te deel in die vorm van spesiale bonusse en verbeterde begrafnisvoordele – sonder enige addisionele onkoste vir die lid. Vanjaar, as deel van ons eeufeesviering, het ons besluit om iets ekstra spesiaals vir ons lede te doen.”
Rademan verduidelik dat die ABR ‘n unieke voordeel is wat AVBOB-lede in kontant kan eis nadat die hoof- versekerde persoon die ouderdom van 65 bereik het, mits die polis minstens 10 jaar van krag is*. “Elke kwalifiserende lid sal hul deel van die R 3.5 miljard ontvang wat aan hul ABR gekrediteer sal word. Sou dit gebeur dat die hoof- versekerde persoon voor die ouderdom van 65 te sterwe kom, sal die volle ABR-saldo uitbetaal word. Lede trek dus voordeel uit die ABR òf met oorlewing òf met afsterwe – soos wat dit behoort te wees vir ‘n lid van ons familie,” sê hy.
Oor die jare het AVBOB die dekking van hul polishouers en lede verhoog deur spesiale bonusverklarings en die bekendstelling van gratis ledevoordele, insluitend ‘n gratis basiese begrafnis, gratis vervoer van die oorledene en ‘n kontantvoorskot van R2 500 wat die familie na goeddunke kan bestee. ‘n Bedrag geld is ook bewillig vir die skepping van ‘n ses maande premievakansie vir lede in geval van aflegging. Hierdie voordele is afgesien van die dekkingsbedrag en word teen geen addisionele koste aan lede voorsien.
“Om 100 te word, is ‘n beduidende prestasie waarop nie baie maatskappye aanspraak kan maak nie, en ons is baie trots daarop dat ons hierdie mylpaal bereik het. Ons sien uit daarna om nog baie jare lank ons lede van uitsonderlike sorg en diens te voorsien,” is Rademan se slotsom.
Celebrating 100 years of service by sharing our success - August 2018
It all began with a singular vision. In the darkness and death following the First World War, returning soldiers brought the deadly Spanish Flu with them in 1918. Deaths increased to the extent that more people passed away in a single day than would normally die in a month. The South African landscape was littered with the makeshift mass graves of those devastated by disease and poverty. In the midst of this devastation, a partially-blind schoolmaster, HH van Rooijen, took it upon himself to create a burial society – a stokvel, if you will. The idea was simple: each human being is entitled to a dignified funeral, at an affordable price. One hundred years later, that principle still holds true for AVBOB.
On 15 August 1918, AVBOB was formally founded out of an informal grouping which had been founded in 1915 to provide mutual support to its members. This small beginning would grow to become a household name at the southernmost tip of Africa.
Van Rooijen’s approach was to put people first. The money, he believed, was secondary, and would somehow always follow.
And his policy to ‘put people first’ paid off, and the society grew steadily. In 1922, AVBOB purchased its first motor vehicle, transported by train to Bloemfontein. Gone were the horsedrawn hearses. In March that year, AVBOB conducted its first state funeral for the late General Christiaan de Wet.
By 1928, AVBOB was in a position to make its own hearses, and was finding ways to support local suppliers in response to growing demand.
With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, AVBOB faced a crisis. Previously, all the raw materials needed for funeral ware were imported, and they were now unavailable. So AVBOB began to manufacture all funeral goods locally. With the scarcity of sheet metal at the time, tin cans were fashioned into exquisite, hand-painted wreaths. AVBOB was upcycling and was ‘proudly South African’ long before these terms even existed!
AVBOB is everywhere
As the organisation continued to grow, the slogan, appropriately, was ‘AVBOB is everywhere’. And AVBOB was for everyone. In late 1947, AVBOB became the first organisation to sell funeral policies to all racial groups.
AVBOB outgrew the small hamlet of Bloemfontein, and needed specialised legal, actuarial and medical underwriting services. So, in the mid-50s, AVBOB set up its head office in Pretoria. And in the mid-60s, the first AVBOB branch opened in Namibia.
Throughout of the ‘70s, AVBOB stood strong and provided funerals to all South Africans, regardless of race, colour or creed, covering the spectrum from the legendary Ciskei chief, General Magoma to the Reverend Petrus John Masango, Archbishop of the St. John Apostolic Church of South Africa.
It was a dark day when, in 1995, AVBOB conducted the mass funeral of 104 mineworkers tragically killed in the Orkney mining disaster. It is because of these lived experiences that AVBOB sees itself not only as a family, but as a blueprint for how the total South African population should be served. It’s for this reason that, on 5 December 2013, AVBOB was selected to lay our beloved Madiba to rest.
As a mutual, AVBOB has no external shareholders who receive dividends. Over the years, AVBOB has allocated billions of rands to our members in the form of special bonuses and free funeral benefits. On 15 August 2018, in our centenary year, we have allocated the single largest special bonus of R3.5 billion to our members. This demonstrates the ability that AVBOB has to empower our members and provide access to economic participation.
In July 2017, in a truly unorthodox move, AVBOB announced a nationwide poetry competition in all 11 official languages, and open to all South Africans, with usage payments awarded to all poems published on the competition website. A cash prize of R10 000 plus a book prize of R2 500 was awarded to the first-prize poems in all 11 language categories, at a prestigious gala evening held in June 2018.
"A 100-poem print anthology was created from the website entries, including specially commissioned poems from
SA’s top poets. The 100th poem, fittingly, was delivered in the Khoisan language, Nǀuu, from the words of
Ouma Katriena Esau, one of the last four surviving speakers of this dialect."
AVBOB has always believed in the importance of the arts in society, as a form of social upliftment. That’s why AVBOB has been a proud sponsor of the Mzansi Youth Choir since 2013. The MYC choristers, drawn from Soweto and the greater Johannesburg area, have performed on stages worldwide.
It’s rare to find an organisation that has weathered change so successfully, and yet has managed to remain true to its core identity. AVBOB is 100 years’ young, and is determined to remain relevant and responsive to change and transformation.
That’s why our workforce, from the top down, is a diverse, inclusive community subscribing to our deep commitment to caring for all – not one privileged group at the expense of the others.
In our commitment to youth empowerment and entrepreneurship, AVBOB adopted a group of aspiring young people – the Diepsloot Kasi Hive – and provided them with the resources to reach their goals. We demonstrate our commitment further by empowering local township entrepreneurs to run their own undertaking enterprises.
We have stood proudly in the service of South African families for a century. This is our story, told over time, with a narrative thread that runs all the way back to that post-war world of devastation, and forwards to the future. AVBOB has grown from saving a people, to serving a nation. And like the ancient baobab tree that was chosen as AVBOB’s centenary symbol, AVBOB intends to stand strong for our people – our family – for the next 100 years. Because, with AVBOB, family comes first. Always.
Ons vier 'n 100 jaar van diens deur ons sukses te deel - Augustus 2018
En dit alles het begin met ‘n sonderlinge visie. In die donker nadraai van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog het Suid-Afrikaanse soldate die dodelike Spaanse Griep saam met hulle teruggebring. Uiteindelik het meer mense op een dag gesterf as wat gewoonlik in ‘n maand die geval sou wees. Die Suid-Afrikaanse landskap was besaai met massagrafte van die tallose slagoffers van siekte en armoede. Te midde van hierdie verwoesting, het ‘n bykans blinde onderwyser, HH van Rooijen, homself daarmee getaak om ‘n begrafnisvereniging – amper ‘n soort stokvel – te stig. Dit was sy oortuiging dat elke mens geregtig is op ‘n waardige begrafnis teen ‘n bekostigbare prys. Een honderd jaar later staan daardie beginsel sterker as ooit vir AVBOB.
Op 15 Augustus 1918 het AVBOB formeel tot stand gekom uit ‘n informele groepering wat in 1915 gestig is om onderlinge steun aan sy lede te bied. Hierdie klein begin sou groei tot een van die sterkste huishoudelike name aan die suidelikste punt van Afrika.
Van Rooijen se benadering was om mense eerste te plaas. Die geld, het hy geglo, was sekondêr, en sou op een of ander manier altyd volg. Sy beleid om ‘mense eerste te plaas’ was ‘n reusesukses, en die vereniging het stadig maar seker gegroei. In 1922 het AVBOB sy eerste voertuig gekoop wat per trein na Bloemfontein vervoer is. Die dae van lykswaens wat deur perde getrek is, was skielik iets van die verlede. In Maart van dieselfde jaar het AVBOB sy eerste staatsbegrafnis, dié van wyle Generaal Christiaan de Wet, behartig.
Teen 1928 was AVBOB in ‘n posisie om sy eie lykswaens te vervaardig en het boonop maniere gevind om in die proses plaaslike verskaffers te ondersteun. Met die uitbreek van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog in 1939 het AVBOB voor ‘n krisis te staan gekom. Al die roumateriale vir begrafnisware is voorheen ingevoer, maar was nou onverkrygbaar. Teen hierdie agtergrond het AVBOB begin om begrafnisgoedere plaaslik te vervaardig. Die groeiende tekort aan plaatmetaal het daartoe gelei dat konfytblikke herwin en omskep is in pragtige handgeverfde kranse. So was AVBOB ‘trots Suid-Afrikaans’ dekades voordat hierdie uitdrukking ontstaan het!
Ons is hier vir jou
Ons handelsmerkbelofte, ‘Ons is hier vir jou’, was nog altyd vir ons baie meer as net woorde; dit is ‘n sprekende demonstrasie van wie ons is. Ons belê in gemeenskappe regoor Suid-Afrika deur ons ondersteuning van geletterdheid en opvoeding. Op Mandeldag 2017 het AVBOB, in samewerking met die Departement van Basiese Onderwys, ‘n belegging van R150 miljoen deur die AVBOB Skoleinfrastruktuurprojek aangekondig. Die doel van hierdie inisiatief is die opgradering van nege minderbevoorregte skole.
Die rede hiervoor is weereens dat AVBOB ‘n mensliewende handelsmerk is wat daaraan glo om te voorsien in ons mense se behoeftes. Dit is behoeftes wat verder strek as ons kernrol as verskaffer van begrafnisse en begrafnisversekering.
Dit is waarom AVBOB in 1951 ‘n onderlinge vereniging geword het en waarom ons steeds met trots hierdie status handhaaf.
As ‘n onderlinge vereniging het AVBOB geen eksterne aandeelhouers wat dividende ontvang nie.
In Julie 2017 het AVBOB nog ‘n unieke inisiatief aangekondig: ons borgskap van ‘n landwye poësiekompetisie in al 11 ampstale, oop vir alle Suid-Afrikaners, met gebruiksregbetalings vir alle gedigte wat op die kompetisiewebwerf (www.avbobpoetry.co.za) gepubliseer word. ‘n Kontantprys van R10 000 plus ‘n boekprys van R2 500 is toegeken aan die topgedig in elke taalkategorie tydens ‘n glansgeleentheid in Junie 2018.
‘n Gedrukte bloemlesing bestaande uit 100 gedigte is saamgestel uit die webwerfinskrywings, insluitend gedigte wat Suid-Afrika se topdigters in opdrag van AVBOB geskryf het. Die 100ste gedig is in die Khoisan-taal, N|uu, in die woorde van Ouma Katriena Esau, een van die laaste vier oorlewende sprekers van hierdie dialek.
"AVBOB het nog altyd geglo in die belangrike rol wat kunste in die sosiale opheffing van ‘n samelewing speel. Daarom is ons reeds sedert 2013 ‘n trotse borg van die Mzansi Youth Choir. Die MYC-koorlede, wat almal uit agtergeblewe gebiede in Soweto en die groter Johannesburg-area kom, het al wêreldwyd op verhoë verskyn."
Organisasies wat verandering oor dekades heen suksesvol hanteer en terselfdertyd getrou bly aan hul kernidentiteit, is seldsaam. AVBOB is 100 jaar jonk, en ons is vasberade om nie net relevant te bly nie, maar ook 100% ontvanklik vir verandering en transformasie.
Juis daarom is ons werksmag ‘n diverse, inklusiewe gemeenskap wat getrou bly aan ons verbintenis tot diepe deernis en sorgsaamheid teenoor al ons kliënte – nie een bevoorregte groep ten koste van ‘n ander nie.
As deel van ons toewydding tot die bemagting van die jeug en die bevordering van entrepreneurskap, het AVBOB ‘n groep ambisieuse en belowende jongmense – die Diepsloot Kasi Hive – onder hul vlerk geneem en hulle voorsien van die nodige hulpbronne om hul doelwitte te verwesenlik. Ons voer hierdie verbintenis verder deur plaaslike township-entrepreneurs te bemagtig om hul eie begrafnisondermings te begin en te bestuur.
Ons staan reeds ‘n eeu lank trots in die diens van Suid-Afrikaanse families. Dit is ons verhaal wat oor dekades heen strek, met ‘n draad wat loop van die na-oorlogse wêreld van verwoesting tot waar ons ons vandag bevind: op die drumpel van ‘n nuwe toekoms. AVBOB het gegroei uit een man se poging om mense te red en ‘n nasie te dien. En soos die oeroue kremetartboom wat as ons eeuvieringsimbool dien, is ons voorneme om ook vir die volgende 100 jaar sterk te staan vir ons mense; ons familie. Want by AVBOB kom familie eerste. Altyd.
Sigubha iminyaka yesevisi eyi 100 ngokwabelana ngempumelelo yethu - Agasti 2018
Kwaqala ngombono owodwa. Ebumnyameni nokufa okwalandela Impi Yezwe Yokuqala lapho amasosha abuya empini eza Nomkhuhlane Wesibhadalala (i-Spanish Flu) ngo 1918. Abantu babefa ubuthaphu-thaphu kangangokuthi babebaningi ababefa ngosuku olulodwa ukwedlula ababevame ukufa ngenyanga. Izwe lase Ningizimu Afrika lagcwala imigodi emikhulu yamathuna enhlanganyelo abazimbele wona labo ababenqotshwa yisifo nobuphofu. Kuleso sibhicongo, kwavela uthisha-nhloko owayengasaboni kahle, u-HH van Rooijen, wazimisela ukuqalisa umfelandawonye kamasingcwabisane – esingathi yistokfela, ngamanye amagama. Umcabango wakhe wawulula: omunye nomunye umuntu ufanelwe wukungcwatshwa ngesizotha, ngenani elingafinyeleleka. Eminyakeni eyi 100 kamuva, usenjalo umcabango we-AVBOB.
Mhla ka 15 August 1918, i-AVBOB yamiswa ngokomthetho ivela eqenjini elalihlangene ngo 1915 njengo mfelandawonye wokusekelana kwamalungu alo. Lokhu kwaba yisiqalo esincane segama elalizogcina lingundaba mlonyeni lapha echosheni elisemzansi impela we Afrika.
Indlela ka Van Rooijen kwaku wukubeka abantu phambili. Wayekholelwa wukuthi, imali iza kamuva, futhi yayihlala ilandela ngandlela thize.
Futhi lenqubo ‘yokubeka abantu phambili’ yaba nemiphumela emihle, kancane kancane yakhula lenhlangano. Kwathi ngo 1922, i-AVBOB yathenga imoto yayo yokuqala, yathwalwa ngesitimela yalethwa e-Bloemfontein. Kwaba awaphindanga athwalwa ngezinqola zamahhashi amabhokisi omngcwabo. Ngo March walowo nyaka, i-AVBOB yaqhuba umngcwabo wayo wokuqala kahulumeni lapho iyobeka ongasekho uGeneral Christiaan de Wet.
Ngo 1928, i-AVBOB yayi sesimweni sokuzenzela izimoto zayo zomngcwabo, futhi yathola nezindlela zokusekela abakhiqizi basekhaya njengoba isidingo siya sikhula.
Kuthe lapho kugqashuka Impi Yezwe Yesibili ngo 1939, i-AVBOB yazithola isenkingeni. Ngaphambilini, yonke imikhiqizo yokungcwaba yayivela emazweni angaphandle, futhi manje yayi ngasatholakali. Ngakho i-AVBOB yaqala ukuzenzela lapha ekhaya yonke imikhiqizo ephathelene nokungcwaba. Kuthe ngenxa yokusweleka kwensimbi engamashidi, kwasetshenziswa amathini kwenziwa ezinhle izimbali zomngcwabo ezipendwe ngesandla.
I-AVBOB yasebenzisa okwase kulahliwe yaba ‘neqholo lokusebenzisa okwase Ningizimu Afrika’
singakaziwa nokwaziwa leso siqubulo!
I-AVBOB ikhona yonke indawo
Njengoba lenhlangano iya ikhula, kwavela, isiqubulo esasifanele, esithi ‘I-AVBOBikuyo yonke indawo’. Futhi i-AVBOB kwakungeka wonke wonke. Ngasekupheleni kuka 1947, i-AVBOB yaba yinkampani yokuqala yokuthengisela zonke izinhlanga umshwalense wokungcwaba.
Kamuva i-AVBOB yakhula yaphumela ngaphandle komzana wase Bloemfontein, kwadingeka ithole ongoti bezomthetho, ochwepheshe bokubala izimali nabezokwelapha ukuqinisekisa umshwalense. Ngakho-ke, phakathi neminyaka yawo 1950, i-AVBOB yamisa ikomkhulu layo e-Pretoria. Kanti phakathi neminyaka yawo 1960, kwavulwa igatsha lokuqala le AVBOB e-Namibia.
Kuyo yonke iminyaka yawo 1970, i-AVBOB yaqhubeka iba namandla iqhuba imingcwabo yabo bonke abase Ningizimu Afrika, kungakhathaliseki uhlanga, umbala noma isizinda, yabangcwaba bonke kusukela kwinkosi eyayaziwa kakhulu e-Ciskei, uGeneral Magoma kuze kufike kuMfundisi uPetrus John Masango, uMbhishobhi omkhulu we St. John Apostolic Church of South Africa.
Isiqubulo sethu esithi, ‘Sihlala silindele ukukusiza’, asikaze sibe ukuzisholo nje kithina, kodwa sisho lokho esiyikho ngempela. Sisekela yonke imiphakathi lapha eNingizimu Afrika ngohlelo lwethu olusekela imfundo nokufunda. Ngosuku lwe Mandela Day 2017, i-AVBOB, isebenzisana noMnyango Wemfundo Eyisisekelo, bamemezela utshalo mali lwe R150 million ohlelweni lwe AVBOB Schools Infrastructure Project, lokwenzangcono izikole zamazinga aphansi eziyisishiya galolunye ezintulayo.
Njengoba siyinhlangano eyi mutual, i-AVBOB ayinabo abanikazi bamasheya abangaphandle abamukela izabelo. Eminyakeni edlule, i-AVBOB yabelene ngezigidi zamarandi kumalungu ayo ngamabhonasi akhethekile nezinzuzo zokungcwaba zamahhala. Mhlaka 15 August 2018, kulonyaka wethu wekhulu, sabelane namalungu ethu ngeyona eyake yankulukazi ibhonasi ekhethekile engu R3.5 billion. Lokhu kubonisa amandla i-AVBOB enawo okuphakamisa amalungu ethu ebuphofini nokuwanikeza indlela yokubamba iqhaza kwezomnotho.
Ngo July 2017, ngendlela ebingalindelwe, i-AVBOB yamemezela umncintiswano kazwelonke wezinkondlo ngezilimi ezisemthethweni ezingu 11 zakuleli, futhi lomncintiswano uvulekele bonke abase Ningizimu Afrika, nezinkondlo ezibhalwayo zithola inkokhelo uma zisakazwa engosini yomncintiswano. Izinkondlo ezathola umklomelo wokuqala zathola imali engu R10 000 kanye nomklomelo wencwadi ongu R2 500 kuyo yonke imikhakha ngazo zonke izilimi ezingu 11, emcimbini wezinga eliphezulu wakusihlwa owawenziwe ngo June 2018.
"Kwashicilelwa nomqulu wezinkondlo eziyi 100 ngezinkondlo ezazibhalelwe leyo ngosi, ezazihlanganisa nezinkondlo zekhethelo zabahayi bezinkondlo abaphambili balapha e-Ningizimu Afrika. Inkondlo ye 100, ngokufanelekile, yahaywa ngolimi lwesi Khoisani, isi Nǀuu, okwakungamazwi ka Ouma Katriena Esau, ongomunye kwabane abasasele abakhuluma lolu limi."
I-AVBOB ibilokhu ikholelwa ekutheni ezobuciko yinto ebalulekile emphakathini, njengendlela yokuphucula ezenhlalo. Yingakho i-AVBOB ibilokhu ingumxhasi oneqholo we Mzansi Youth Choir kusukela ngo 2013. Abaculi be MYC, abavela e-Soweto nasezindaweni zase Johannesburg namaphethelo, bacula emashashalazini omhlaba.
Akujwayelekile ngempela ukuthola inkampani ekwazi ukuhambisana noshintsho ngempumelelo kanjena, futhi ibe ilokhu iqhubeka nenjongo yayo. I-AVBOBineminyaka nje eyi 100 ikhona, futhi izimisele ukuqhubeka ihambisana noshintsho noguquko. Yingakho abasebenzi bethu, kusukela kophezulu kuze kufike kophansi, bengumphakathi oxubile njengokulandela ukuzibophezela kwethu ekunakekeleni bonke abantu – kungabikhona isigejana sabanamalungelo abanye benganawo.
Ngenxa yokuzimisela kwethu ukusimamisa intsha nokukhuthaza osomabhizinisi, i-AVBOB izibophezele ekusebenzisaneni neqembu lentsha elizifisela okukhulu – eliku Diepsloot Kasi Hive – yalihlinzeka ngezidingo zokufinyelela imigomo yalo. Siphinde sibonise ukuzimisela kwethu ngokusiza osomabhizinisi baselokishini basimame baqhube amabhizinisi abo okungcwaba.
Besilokhu sisebenzela imindeni yase Ningizimu Afrika ngeqholo iminyaka eyikhulu. Lena yindaba yethu, esixoxwe isikhathi eside, kusukela kulesiya sikhathi sezwe lokucindezeleka elalandela isikhathi sempi, sibheke phambili esikhathini esizayo. I-AVBOB ithuthuke kusukela ekusindiseni abantu, yaze yafinyelela ekukhonzeni isizwe. Futh njengesihlala somkhomo sasemandulo esikhethwe njengophawu lwe AVBOB lweminyaka eyikhulu, i-AVBOB izimisele ukuqhubeka inamandla okusekela abantu bethu – umndeni wethu – eminye iminyaka eyi 100 ezayo. Ngoba, e-AVBOB, umndeni uza kuqala. Njalo nje.
The AVBOB Poetry Prize: in praise of the poets – and people – of South Africa - June 2018
Sponsored by AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society and funeral service provider, a competition of this reach was unprecedented in South Africa. And while a modest 5 000 poems were anticipated, 20 774 were finally entered. Of these, 3 108 were published on www.avbobpoetry.co.za. From there, three poems in each language category were selected, and at a gracious gala evening on 20 June 2018, the AVBOB Poetry Prize was presented to the first-placed poets.
The winning poems covered the totemic themes of Love, Hope, Birth and Death, and were drawn from that pool of over 20 000 poetic voices, each bravely articulating the inner life of countless amateur poets across South Africa. Poets as young as 10 and as old as 97 submitted their poems for approval on the website. While Gauteng proved to be the poetic heartland of SA, poems were submitted from Cape Town to Kuruman, from Bhisho to Bela Bela and beyond.
And while English is definitely the poetic lingua franca of our country, the beauty of this project lay in the convergence of all the voices of our land, forming a poetic patchwork quilt in isiXhosa, Sepedi, Tshivenḓa, Xitsonga, isiZulu, Setswana, isiNdebele, Afrikaans, Sesotho and Siswati.
We learnt, in Jeremy Cronin’s words, ‘how to speak with the voices of this land’, but finally it came down to the most powerfully crafted poems in each mother tongue. And the range of poems – and the poets behind them – are both a celebration of the richness of South Africa and a collective praise poem of hope and healing.
In alphabetical order of language category, they are:
|LANGUAGE CATEGORY: Afrikaans
WINNER: Lynthia Julius
POEM: Vir Al Jarreau
|2nd place||3rd place|
Poem: vir ‘n bidsprinkaan
|LANGUAGE CATEGORY: English
WINNER: Caroline F Archer
POEM: Puppet master
|2nd place||3rd place|
Poem: Brain MRI
Poem: It's been too long
|LANGUAGE CATEGORY: isiNdebele
WINNER: Queen Mahlangu
|2nd place||3rd place|
|Nurse Nonhlanhla Mbonani
Poem: Khetha Yena
Poem: Ngiyathokoza ngokungikhulisa
LANGUAGE CATEGORY: isiXhosa
WINNER: Nolusindiso Penxa
POEM: Akwaba ndandithethile
|2nd place||3rd place|
Poem: Ndicela ningandilileli
Poem: Ndiye ndalibala
|LANGUAGE CATEGORY: isiZulu
WINNER: Kutsi Emmanuel Lindinkosi Mpanza
POEM: Wangishiya ngokuzuma
|2nd place||3rd place|
Poem: Siwile isihlahla
Poem: Kuzofa ukufa
LANGUAGE CATEGORY: Sesotho
WINNER: Tieho Mkhendane
|2nd place||3rd place|
Poem: Nako jwale e fihlile
LANGUAGE CATEGORY: Setswana
WINNER: Nthabiseng Cujane
POEM: Go siame
|2nd place||3rd place|
Poem: Mma o re siile
Poem: Se itlhoboge
LANGUAGE CATEGORY: Sepedi
WINNER: Mosima Phakane
|2nd place||3rd place|
|Mokgaetji Glory Tladi
Poem: Ditebogo di kae?
LANGUAGE CATEGORY: Siswati
WINNER: Thembi Gwebu
|2nd place||3rd place|
LANGUAGE CATEGORY: Tshivenḓa
WINNER: Ngwedzeni Tshovhota
POEM: U bebwa ha lutshetshe
|2nd place||3rd place|
|Domina Napoleon Munzhelele
Poem: Ndi nwana wau
|Ndivhuyafhi Godfrey Musubi
Poem: Maduvha a kalakataho
LANGUAGE CATEGORY: Xitsonga
WINNER: Mashimbye Owners Hluvukani
|2nd place||3rd place|
|Musa Aubrey Baloyi
Poem: U rhukane swikwembu
|Ximbani Eric Mabaso
Poem: Maxangu na nhlomulo
PROFILES: AVBOB POETRY PRIZEWINNERS
Each of the 11 first-place winners of the AVBOB Poetry Prize received a R10 000 cash prize and a R2 500 book voucher, sponsored by AVBOB. They came to the competition for various reasons, in search of something beyond the ordinary, and gave us poems that comfort, provoke and challenge.
How does one begin to sing their praises? Theirs, and each and every poet who penned a poem and submitted their work for appraisal. The winners, says AVBOB CEO, Frik Rademan, “represent the best, the bravest and most talented of our rainbow nation. What moves me to the core is that each of these poets had the courage to dig deep into their own vulnerability to find the words to not only express their pain, but to help others on their road to healing.”
Lynthia Julius grew up in Kimberley, and is a postgraduate student of philosophy at the University of the Free State. As a child, her mother read her sister and her a bedtime poem to fuel their dreams. The competition offered her a therapeutic space in which to unpack unresolved emotions.
Caroline F Archer grew up on a Free State farm but is now based in Pretoria as an editor, translator, poet and author. She began writing poetry as a school girl and simply never stopped. She found the competition’s online format a brilliant tool to disseminate poetry in an environment where it is poorly supported.
Queen Mahlangu grew up in Mpumalanga, is a Soshanguve resident and a student of paralegal studies at TUT. At just 19 years old, she’s the youngest of the first-prize winners. She entered the competition – her very first! – in the hope of healing others with her words, and as a nod to the poets who have inspired her.
Nolusindiso Penxa is an admin clerk for the Department of Justice in Port Elizabeth. During her high school years, she compiled a book of poems which she wrote herself. Although she says she loves poetry, as a working mother of four children she doesn’t give herself much time to sit and write. She entered the competition after being motivated by a friend who passed away.
Kutsi Emmanuel Lindinkosi Mpanza is a freelance artist living in Cosmo City who grew up surrounded by community-minded sisters who organised gatherings where drama, poetry, dance and music were celebrated. The competition allowed him to write in his mother tongue and the competition’s archetypal themes resonated richly with him.
Tieho Mkhendane grew up in Ficksburg and now lives in Komati, Mpumalanga. At age seven, a tribute poem to his late grandmother launched his career as a professional praise poet at community functions. He entered the competition to share his own gifts with others and to learn from them in turn.
Nthabiseng Cujane grew up in the village of Verdwaal in North West. After the loss of her father in 2014, she began to write poetry in earnest. But lack of funds forced her out of her studies, and poetry was pushed aside for a time. The competition revived her love of the form, and reinforced her belief in its transformative power.
Mosima Phakane grew up in a village in Limpopo and is currently studying civil engineering at Wits. Encouraged by a school teacher, she wrote her first poem in 2010 and has never looked back. She saw the competition as an opportunity to grow as a poet, and to revisit her mother tongue as a medium.
Thembi Gwebu was born and bred in Tsakane township in Ekurhuleni, and now works as a labour relations practitioner and youth care worker. What attracted her to the competition was the open-ended theme, "I wish I'd said…”, and the fact that it gave everyone the opportunity to write in their own language of origin.
Ngwedzeni Tshovhota grew up in Thohoyandou in Limpopo, and is now a team leader for a major insurer in the region. He was a latecomer to poetry in 2014, but published a collection of poems the following year under the title, Mutshakavhili (Eclipse). The competition offered him the chance to refine his craft.
At just 22, Mashimbye Owners Hluvukani has already packed poetry, teaching and a commerce degree into his short life. A resident of Thohoyandou, he is furthering his career in account management at a major utility, and says poetry offers him a place to express his emotions and serves as a remedy to life’s ills.
THE AVBOB POETRY GALA
The AVBOB Poetry Gala evening on 20 June in Pretoria signalled a celebration of the human spirit, and of the power of poetry to heal and transform.
And that power is captured in a print anthology* – published by Naledi – under the competition tagline, “I Wish I’d said…”. The two winning poems in each language category will now live on alongside the work of seven accomplished South African poets, each commissioned to write a poem in each language category for the anthology. And, in the spirit of inclusivity, the 100th poem in the collection is written in Khoisan.
Why 100 poems? Because in this, AVBOB’s centenary year, they wanted to give back to South Africa in a deeply symbolic way.
But what inspired it all?
The inspiration for the AVBOB Poetry Project took form at the funeral of a two-year-old boy, who had died from a common childhood cancer. At his funeral, so great was his grandfather’s sense of loss, that he could barely speak. He managed to muster these two words: ‘Ta ta, kiewiet.’ ‘Goodbye, little plover, little bird.’
This loss of words in the face of the loss of a loved one is something AVBOB sees daily. It is a very human moment in which the mind, in the throes of a great sorrow, struggles to find the right words to articulate grief. The words used daily will not do. They come across as mere platitudes, empty phrases that cannot match the emotions at play.
“AVBOB asked, ‘how can we provide all our policyholders, all our people, with a way to give voice to their grief?’,” explains AVBOB CEO, Frik Rademan. “At AVBOB, we make a promise: ‘We’re here for you.’ We wanted to demonstrate this, to provide people with comfort when they are most vulnerable. And we found that, in times of great emotional stress, people often turn to verse to find a way forward. They look to psalms, songs and poems for consolation.”
This is how the AVBOB Poetry Project was born. The competition would serve a dual purpose: firstly, it would provide a safe place of catharsis. Here, ordinary South Africans could weave words about their own wounds. It could be a place for them to unburden, to share stories of their own loss. But it had to be more than this. For while AVBOB deals in death daily, they see themselves as traders in hope.
And so, the competition gave South Africans the gentlest, most inclusive form of bereavement counselling. And that was, indeed, the second aim of the competition: to create an online anthology of original poems that mourners could access and make use of, for funeral pamphlets or for personal consolation.
“The success of the competition suggests that poetry is alive and thriving in SA,” adds Mr Rademan. “If the social media response is anything to go by, there is a profound need for this sort of platform. And so, it is with great delight that AVBOB announces the launch of the 2018 AVBOB Poetry Competition, which will run from 1 August to 30 November 2018.”
In the words of the great English poet, TS Eliot: “For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
And so, it begins again. AVBOB encourages all those who were touched by the 2017 competition to spread the word and sow the seeds for the next season, and to bring the beauty of poetry back to its people once more.
Please visit the AVBOB online poetry anthology, which is freely available on www.avbobpoetry.co.za. For what was produced for AVBOB’s customers and policyholders, for poets across South Africa, and for all the bereaved across this nation, is a resource of beauty and solace that will endure for generations. In this, AVBOB’s centenary year, this competition marks a profound demonstration of AVBOB’s commitment to the communities in which they operate, of their willingness to give more, and of their ability to provide emotional and intellectual upliftment for all South Africans.
*The anthology can be ordered at www.naledi.online or 078 648 8616, and is available from most good bookstores. Alternatively, SMS the word ‘poem’ to 41199 (at a standard cost of R1.50 per SMS) to have it posted to you at a total cost of R200.
KZN High Court grants AVBOB relief from NAFUPA SA
These threats have been backed up with violent actions against AVBOB staff and a relentless media campaign of misinformation. This compelled AVBOB to introduce drastic measures to ensure that we can continue with our normal business activities and to fulfil our contractual obligation to our members and customers.
AVBOB obtained an interdict on 29 January 2018, barring NAFUPA SA from unlawfully interfering with its normal business activities, but NAFUPA SA simply ignored the ruling and continued to threaten AVBOB’s staff and clients. In order to protect our assets, staff and clients, we engaged the services of a private security company to escort staff and clients into the affected areas.
NAFUPA SA’s contemptuous conduct compelled AVBOB to approach the Court again in an attempt to put a stop to these criminal activities. On 20 February 2018, AVBOB brought a second urgent application in the High Court, KwaZulu-Natal Local Division in Durban, against NAFUPA SA and its president, Mr Hlengwa, for various violations of the interim court order that was granted by Judge Chetty on 29 January 2018. NAFUPA SA representatives were disrupting court proceedings, but after Judge Moodley awarded her ruling in favour of AVBOB, they cried foul and argued that they had no legal representation. Judge Moodley gave NAFUPA SA and Mr Hlengwa until 6 March 2018 to show good cause why he should not be committed to prison. Judge Moodley further stated that should NAFUPA SA, Mr Hlengwa or any of its members be in contravention of the interim order made on 29 January 2018, AVBOB shall have the right to approach the Court within 24 hours, requesting the imprisonment of Mr Hlengwa.
The matter was heard on 6 March 2018 before Judge Nkosi. Members of NAFUPA SA and Mrs Hlengwa (Mr Hlengwa's wife) were in attendance.
Mrs Hlengwa made submissions to the Court that Mr Hlengwa is unwell and could not attend court. The Judge noted that Mr Hlengwa has a case to answer and should not avoid coming to court as he has had ample opportunity to submit an affidavit to state his case. AVBOB asked the Court to confirm both the interim orders for the interdict and contempt of court. AVBOB further asked the Court to suspend the imprisonment of Mr Hlengwa for a period of six months on condition that the members of NAFUPA SA and Mr Hlengwa comply with the final and confirmed court order. Should NAFUPA SA and Mr Hlengwa contravene the court order, AVBOB will be entitled to approach the Court on 24 hours’ notice and request the immediate imprisonment of Mr Hlengwa. The Judge agreed with AVBOB's submissions on the terms of the court order, and explained the terms of the court order to Mrs Hlengwa who agreed to the suspended imprisonment of Mr Hlengwa. The Court granted the order on the above terms, and also awarded legal costs in respect of both court orders, to AVBOB.
AVBOB has always been willing to engage NAFUPA SA in meaningful discussions to find an amicable solution to their concerns, but their demands are completely unrealistic and irrational. Amongst other things, NAFUPA SA demanded that AVBOB pays them 30% of AVBOB’s annual profits to shut down their campaign, and to set up and pay for fully functional funeral parlours for NAFUPA SA. We have therefore done whatever is deemed necessary, and reasonably possible, to protect our staff and clients against intimidation and violence. We will not allow the benefits due to our members to be plundered by violent minorities with narrow agendas of personal enrichment. We will continue to stand steadfast in our promise to be there for our members.
AVBOB introduces drastic measures to fulfil its brand promise - February 2018
NAFUPA SA has been driving this campaign primarily in and around townships and rural areas surrounding Durban in KZN. The association went as far as threatening to burn their competitors’ business premises, vehicles and equipment and have justified their crusade as a means to bring about “radical economic transformation”.
One of the affected targets of NAFUPA SA’s action against what they perceive as a “white owned business” is AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society, an organisation which became a household name in both white and non-white communities since it was established in 1918. AVBOB has responded strongly in the media about NAFUPA SA’s threats and statements and even obtained an interdict against the latter to restrain it from unlawfully preventing AVBOB’s agents from conducting its normal business activities.
AVBOB’s stance is emphatic that it is not “owned by whites” but as a mutual assurance society, its assets belong to policyholders of whom 80% are black. Speaking to AVBOB CEO, Frik Rademan, he explained that AVBOB’s status as a mutual assurance society enables the organisation to allocate surplus profits to its members in the form of free funeral benefits and special bonuses. “AVBOB has no external shareholders that can demand dividends,” Rademan said. “AVBOB’s policyholders benefit directly from our successes which are evident from the R8 billion which has been allocated to policyholders in the form of free funeral benefits and special bonuses over the past nine years,” he continued.
Rademan said one of their biggest concerns about NAFUPA SA’s threats is that the free funeral benefits, which their members have accrued over the years and which are subject to the condition that AVBOB Funeral Service Ltd. is used to do the funeral when a claim against the policy is made, will be lost. He explained that these free funeral benefits, which are currently valued at almost R15 000, will be forfeited if the policyholder is forced or convinced not to use AVBOB for the funeral. “NAFUPA SA has gone so far as to “advise” policyholders to cancel their policies or to submit cash claims and if this happens, the family will only receive the proceeds of the policy,” he said. According to him it will be a tragedy if NAFUPA SA succeeds to intimidate bereaved families to such an extent that they can no longer exercise freedom of choice when it comes to selecting a funeral service provider. “Effectively, NAFUPA SA, who hides behind the populist notion of radical economic transformation, wants to rob ordinary citizens of their money during a time when they are at their most vulnerable. Only NAFUPA SA and its members stand to benefit from this campaign. They are promoting their own selfish business objectives and interests at the expense of the people living in these communities,” he said.
When asked how AVBOB will counter NAFUPA SA’s endeavours should they continue to threaten the organisation and its clients Rademan explained that AVBOB has no intention of withdrawing from townships and the rural areas. He said AVBOB has an obligation to deliver on its brand promise “We’re here for you”. “AVBOB has opened branches in townships and rural areas to make it convenient for our clients to receive the services we promised to render when they joined us. That is why we continuously open new branches so that we can get closer to our policyholders, and other clients, to render a service right where they live. In the meantime we have obtained an interdict barring NAFUPA SA from interfering with our normal business activities and we went as far as contracting a private security company to escort our staff and clients into the affected areas. We will do whatever is deemed necessary, and reasonably possible, to protect our staff and clients against intimidation and violence.”
AVBOB Press Release - January 2018
- In response to the various threats of violence and the interference with its business operations, AVBOB resolved to approach the judiciary for assistance in preventing the unlawful conduct threatened by NAFUPA SA and its affiliated members.
- The concerning conduct was in the form of a campaign, which was to commence on 1 February 2018, and was threatened to include:
- the prevention of AVBOB from operating in so-called “black townships”;
- the use of petrol bombs to burn and destroy hearses belonging to Indian, white and coloured funeral companies;
- the blocking of roads to prevent all Indian, white and coloured funeral companies from entering the so-called black areas;
- the burning of hearses belonging to all Indian, white and coloured funeral companies, together with the bodies of the deceased people being transported;
- the confiscation of all funeral equipment such as tents, lowering devices and grave matts that are used and owned by Indian, white and coloured funeral companies;
- the hiring of “assassins” to target employees of Indian, white and coloured funeral companies.
- AVBOB successfully obtained an interim interdict inter alia ordering that NAFUPA SA be interdicted and restrained from:
- Conducting any unlawful protest and/or gathering at any of the branch offices of AVBOB, preventing access to such offices by members of the general public and/or employees or associated agents or service providers of AVBOB;
- Unlawfully preventing AVBOB, including its associated agents and employees, from conducting its normal business in Durban and/or other areas in which AVBOB or its agents conduct business;
- Disrupting the business of AVBOB and its associated agents or interfering with the business relationship that AVBOB has with its customers, in any of the so-called black areas;
- Making threats against AVBOB, its associated agents and employees, contributing to and/or inciting violence and/or anarchy, the purpose of which being to-
- deter AVBOB and its franchisees from conducting its normal business in the Durban area and all other areas where AVBOB and its agencies have branches;
- cause damage to the property of AVBOB and its associated agencies, including intimidating, threatening and harassing or harming any employees of the applicants;
- create an untenable environment for the normal operations of AVBOB and/or its franchisees;
- interfere with the normal business operations of AVBOB and its agents;
- interfere in the business relationship between AVBOB and its clients/policy holders.
- This order also provides that, should NAFUPA SA and/or its members fail to comply with its terms, the members of the SAPS are authorised and directed to take any steps or measures necessary to ensure compliance with this order and to maintain law and order by-
- preventing unlawful gatherings at any of AVBOB’s branches;
- preventing NAFUPA SA, including its members, from blocking any access roads to so-called black townships when AVBOB and/or its associated agents are conducting funeral services;
- preventing any damage to property and/or vandalising of AVBOB’s property during the conduct of funeral services in the so-called Black townships.
- The aforesaid provisions of the order are immediately enforceable and the courts have afforded NAFUPA SA until 6 March 2018 to show cause as to why the order should not be made final.
- We invite NAFUPA SA to place their position formally on record and indicate why they believe their conduct is lawful. As always, AVBOB’s management is available to engage NAFUPA SA regarding the resolution of this matter.
Communities will suffer if White and Indian funeral undertakers are forbidden - January 2018
AVBOB is perceived to be one of those so-called “white-owned” businesses which has been targeted by Mr Shezi’s reckless statements and comments and we would like to respond as follows:
First and foremost, we believe that the picture painted by Mr Shezi and his organisation is not only dangerously oversimplified, but ultimately incorrect on a number of fronts.
Not only would this take away freedom of choice from the consumer but, if this illegal action is not stopped, it will have far-reaching and detrimental effects at both the micro- and macro-economic level. The facts are as follows:
AVBOB is a mutual society, which means it does not have shareholders who receive dividends. The Society is owned by its policyholders, of whom 80% are Black, and these policyholders share directly in the company’s success through the allocation of surplus profits. Over the past nine years, AVBOB has allocated R8 billion of surplus profits to its policyholders (owners) in the form of special bonuses and free funeral benefits, over and above the value of their policies.
These ground-breaking benefits will be lost should policyholders claim cash up front or cancel their policies and follow the NAFUPA SA way.
Secondly, AVBOB’s business model empowers and supports the development of Black entrepreneurs by providing infrastructure, resources and training. This enables them to operate the funeral agency on a semi-franchise basis. They employ their own staff, recruited from the local community. Furthermore, they acquire on behalf of their clients products and services such as family cars, house tents, catering products and services, etc. from local suppliers and service providers from the community. NAFUPA SA’s threats place the livelihood of these entrepreneurs, their staff and suppliers at risk.
AVBOB’s commitment to uplifting disadvantaged communities does not stop at the entrepreneurial or mutual level. Our CSI contribution is equally considerable. AVBOBrecently announced another project that will set the tone for Corporate Social Investment in South Africa. The schools infrastructure project, whereby AVBOB will invest R150 million in the upgrading of schools in rural and disadvantaged communities in all nine provinces, was announced in 2017. This initiative follows on the 50 container libraries that AVBOB has donated to schools in these areas since 2014. Apart from these community projects, AVBOB regularly provides assistance to families who cannot afford a funeral, by doing the funeral for free or at a much-reduced cost.
Considering what AVBOB has been contributing to these communities over the decades, it will be nothing less than a disaster for every man, woman and child in every township and village in this country if we were forced to move out.
We believe there are two ways to approach transformation in South Africa: the first is out of a sense of duty, of obligation or mere compliance. But there is another way, something deeper, stronger, rooted in fundamental values, that is a heartfelt, truly performative act of purpose and intention. AVBOB is driven by our desire to serve our policyholders (owners) and the communities in which we operate.
AVBOB is a B-BBEE level 2 contributor. As an employer, AVBOB is committed to empowerment and to being an exemplary corporate citizen. We want to make a substantive difference in the lives of all South Africans.
In closing, we believe that action speaks louder than words, and that commitment to true transformation is not only skin-deep; it is the passion at the heart of the organisation. This is demonstrated by everything AVBOB does towards the socio-economic wellbeing and upliftment of all South Africans. The initiatives that the group has undertaken thus far – and continues to undertake – exemplify our slogan, “We are here for you”.
AVBOB Featured in @EnterpriseAfri1 Issue 65, pages 26 – 31 - December 2017
Classrooms for needy pupils - July 2017
By Nobathembu Zibi
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has launched a groundbreaking school infrastructure partnership with AVBOB.
She said at Joe Solomon Primary School in Heidedal, Mangaung, that the company donated R150 million for renovations and the building of new schools across the country.
“This is the single largest investment in the school infrastructure programme by a company since I became minister of basic education,” she said.
“It is important to note that needy pupils and communities in all nine provinces will benefit from this contribution.
“The announcement by the company’s board of this investment came as no surprise to me. Our partnership with them has flourished from strength to strength.
“The work we are doing together is changing lives and shaping the future generation. The company has become a strategic partner and a dependable ally in the delivery of quality public schooling.
“Our strategic partnership with them started in earnest after we made a loud and clear call to all social partners for an increased investment in the library service.
“We aim to launch 1 000 school libraries each year.
“AVBOB is the single largest contributor of fully functional container libraries to primary schools.
“We are very excited to be where we are, and we agreed we would work together to move education forward. We are doing so daily.”
AVBOB chief executive Frik Rademan said: “We want to help provide quality education and make a positive difference in pupils’ lives.
“Joe Solomon Primary School, will get 23 new classrooms, a computer lab, a library and a kitchen.”
AVBOB CEO Frik Rademan (left) signs a memorandum of understanding with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga
Motshekga refused unearned riches - July 2017
By Nthabiseng Lisele
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga spend her 67 minutes of celebrating Mandela day in the Free State.
Minister together with the AVBOB were in partnership as they launched a ground-breaking multimillion rand school infrastructure partnership. AVBOB Board donated R150 million for the renovation, refurbishment and building of schools across the country.
During her speech, Minister Motshekga said, “we appeal to the political gods to remind us every day that State resources exist primarily to serve the people. Some of us in the positions of responsibility are merely servants of the people and quite rightly so our occupation of political office comes with insecurity of tenure”.
Motshekga emphasized that they shall serve not expecting any glory or unearned riches. According to her, there is no reason to applaud a fish for swimming.
“Madiba taught us that to lead is a lifelong service to the people. He also taught us that you can achieve the status of being referred to as a world statesman without having to exhibit the traits of a demigod”, said minister.
According to her, stealing from the public purse goes against the essence of humanity and service to the people. She stated that they must rebel against those who have launched a relentless assault to brazen theft of the public resources for no other reason other than personal gain, fame and fortune.
“We must rebel against the veil of secrecy when evidence of looting of State resources hides in plain sight yet no action is forthcoming. We must refuse to complicit in the snatching of dreams of a better life for the future generation of our people either by act or omission”, said Motshekga.
She added that, “we have a responsibility not to betray the memory of President Mandela. His legacy cannot die while we live. Therefore we do owe Madiba indeed, and his generation of freedom fighters a debt of gratitude for the work they did at the great personal costs to themselves with no expectation of recognition, high office and material gain”.
Concluding, Minister said that “our partnership with AVBOB is one that has flourished from strength to strength and the work we are doing together is truly changing lives and shaping future generations. They have become truly a strategic partner and dependable ally in the delivery of quality public schooling”.
Frik Rademan CEO of AVBOB and Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga signed the agreement at Clive Solomon school
Mandela Day – AVBOB are launching their much anticipated Poetry Campaign - July 2017
Now is the time for us, as a nation, to take up the pen and not the sword. This is when we should focus on what unites, rather than divides us. And the AVBOB poetry project strives to do exactly that.
Facts about the campaign:
- To bring this poetry project to life, AVBOB are launching a website – www.avbobpoetry.co.za – on 18 July 2017, on Mandela Day
- Open to all South Africans in 11 official languages
- As a token of our appreciation, an incentive of R300 will be paid to each person who’s poem is selected for our library on the website
- The winners in each language category will be awarded at a prestigious event in March 2018 and will receive a cash prize
From left – Johann de Lange, editor-in-chief for the AVBOB poetry project, Mr Frik Rademan, CEO of AVBOB, Dr Mantoa Motinyane-Masoko, senior lecturer and head of African Languages and Literatures at UCT and Prof Stanley Madonsela, Directorate: African Languages, University of South Africa and Daniel Hugo, Afrikaans editor for the AVBOB poetry project.
AVBOB launches competition to inspire nation’s poets - July 2017
By Nhlawulo Chauke
Mutual assurance society AVBOB has started a poetry project and competition that is open to all South Africans in all 11 official languages to celebrate the richness and diversity of all the voices of our land.
According to AVBOB chief executive Frik Rademan, the poetry project will become a vehicle for people to finally express those unspoken whispers of the heart.
He added that the competition would give entrants the opportunity to “cath hold of a moment and lift it out of the ordinary”.
The company has launched a Facebook page that is devoted to poetry and plans to launch a dedicated website.
Rademan said the main features of the website would be to publish as many quality new poems as possible in all 11 South African official languages.
He also stated that the website would form the platform from which they would launch a nationwide poetry competition.
Rademan added that every language is richly layered with nuances that could only be fully understood by someone who speaks, thinks and dreams in that language.
“For this reason, we’ve appointed a reputable editor in every one of our official languages to evaluate the entries fairly,” he said.
R300 will be paid for every poem that is approved by the relevant editor and the poem will feature alongside other poems on the AVBOB poetry website, where it would become part of a library to provide words of beauty and comfort to the people of South Africa.
Rademan added that all entrants of approved poems will be in line for the Poetry Prize, in the specific language categories and that the respective prizes would bring cash rewards.
“We will announce the winners towards the end of March 2018 and will roll out the red carpet for them at an awards ceremony.”
Rademan stated that when grief has rendered us mute, poetry enables us to capture the legacy of our loved ones for all eternity, and to express our loss in a meaningful way.
Uyimbongi? - July 2017
Faka umbongo wakho kukhuphiswano lokubhala imibongo labangcwabi!
- Abakwa AVBOB bamisele iwebsite ethi www.avbobpoetry.co.za
- Ivuleleke kubantu boMzantsi elinanye.
- Isixa mali samakhulu amathathu erandi siyakunikwa abaphumeleleyo.
- Abaphumeleleyo kulwimi ngalunye bayakuwongwa kumsitho oyakuba ngenyanga yoKwindla ngo2018, bayakufumana khona isipho semali.
Motshekga’s solemn appeal to SA - July 2017
Minister of the Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, reminded politicians and government officials alike that state resources exist primarily to serve the people.
Motshekga made her appeal at the launch of an R160 million school infrastructure project of the Department of Basic Education in partnership with AVBOB at the Joe Solomon Primary School in Heidedal on Tuesday morning.
“Some of us in positions of responsibility are merely servants of the people. We shall not serve to expect any glory or unearned riches. There is no reason to applaud a fish for swimming,” she said sternly.
As the event coincided with International Mandela Day, Motshekga pertinently illustrated to those in attendance how Mandela provided a lifelong service with humility and meekness to the people of South Africa.
“The essence of our humanity is found in our humbleness, thrift, courage, self-control and self-commitment to justice,” she added.
Motshekga went on to say that it is every South African’s duty to rebel against thieves who use state resources for nothing other than fame and fortune. Motshekga warned that Mandela’s legacy cannot die while we are living.
“Therefore, we do indeed owe to President Mandela and his generation of freedom fighters a debt of gratitude for the work they did at personal cost to themselves, with no expectation of recognition, high office and/or material gain,” she said.
She further added that she does not think the late Nobel Peace Prize winner would be happy with the state our country is finding itself in with regards to reports of corruption and looting of state resources.
AVBOB’s poetic legacy of Madiba - July 2017
By Nokuthula Zwane
In celebrating Mandela Day, AVBOB has found an unorthodox way to encourage South Africans to give back to the community through poetry writing.
As the country celebrates the birthday of Madiba, AVBOB launched the I’d Wish I’d Said poetry project to be used as a tool to carry on his legacy of Ubuntu.
AVBOB chief executive Frik Rademan said: “Poetry brings us closer to those we love and binds us to the universe in which we abide.
“Perhaps most importantly of all, poetry brings us closer to our truest selves and reaches chords within us that cannot otherwise be touched. This unique competition is AVBOB’s way of catching hold of a moment and lifting it out of it’s the ordinary.
“Our sponsorship is aimed at providing a platform for poets, both unknown and lauded, to offer words for comfort through their craft.
“We want to publish as many quality new poems as possible in all 11 of the official South African languages and the website will form the platform which we will launch a nationwide poetry competition.”
One of the contributors to the AVBOB poetry project, Coenie de Villiers, said it was the first he had heard of a sponsor that put major funds into poetry as such funds usually go into sports. “ The most beautiful and authentic voices you have ever heard in any language across the world is poetry,” De Villiers said.
“People think that using poetry is a little bit unorthodox, but it really isn’t unorthodox. We listen to poetry all day.
“If you put on the radio there is Khuli Chana. AKA and rappers who do some of the most exciting poetry that we have in the world today. The target market is for all South Africans with a though, hope and aspiration and the words to articulate. Enter and let’s see what happens – even if it’s just for the joy of writing.
“I love poetry. I grew up in the previous era in South Africa and one of the only ways where I could really understand what was happening to us was by reading the Struggle poetry of the time – hearing the voices that we weren’t allowed to hear then and in that sense, I am also proud of this project because we live in a country where we have freedom of speech and whoever you are, wherever you might be, if you have a voice, write it.”
Yesterday marked 99 years of AVBOB’s existence and was on the same day as Madiba’s birthday.
It was also on this day that AVBOB poetry project came to life on their website.
The competition is expected to run from August 1 to November.
For more information on the competition prizes, entry dates and terms and conditions visit www.avbobpoetry.co.za.
“Now is the time for us as a nation to take up the pen and not the sword,” De Villiers said.
Besweer pyn met poësie – AVBOB Kompetisie - Julie 2017
‘n Aktiewe webtuiste en ‘n bundle wat herinneringe aan geliefde afgestorwenes onsterflik sal maak, word in samewerking met AVBOB beplan.
Totius sous y hande geklap het oor ‘n hele bundle met lykdigte. Sy gedig “O die pyngedagte” sou seker die pryswenner gewees het, sou die bundle in sy leeftyd verskyn het.
Die begrafnisondernemer AVBOB gaan volgende jaar ter viering van sy 100ste bestaansjaar die bundle uitgee na ‘n poësiekompetisie vanjaar. Enigiemand wat gevoelens oor die dood van ‘n geliefde of vriend wil neerpen, kan die gedigte inskryf.
Via (DStv-kanaal 147) het in samewerking met AVBOB gisteraan om 20:30 vir kykers ‘n spesiale dokumentêr, Ek wou nog sê…, uitgesaai waarin meer bekend gemaak is. Die kokkie handel oor die krag van poësie en word in gespreksvorm deur Coenie de Villiers aangebied. Hy gesels met bekroonde digters soos Antjie Krog, Vincent Oliphant, Joan Hambidge en Johann de Lange oor poësie se vermoë om dit te verwoord wat ‘n mens nie altyd kan nie.
Vir die poësiekompetisie kan in enige van die amptelike landstale gedig word. Bydraes kan tussen 1 Augustus en einde van November ingestuur word. Daar sal ‘n wenner in elke landstaal wees en die prys sal bekend staan as die AVBOB-prys vir poësie.
Elke landstaal sal nege gedigte hê in sowel die oorspronklike taal as ‘n Engelse vertaling. 80% present van die gedigte sal aangevra word en 20% sal uit die kompetisie se bestes gekies word.
Hiermee sal jonger digters die geleentheid kry om naas bekende, gevestigde name gepubliseer te word.
Daar sal ook ‘n nuwe webtuiste vir poësie wees (www.avbobpoetry.co.za). Dit sal voortdurend bygewerk word.
Die sal ‘n aktiewe ruimte wees waar gedigte geplaas word sodat alle rouklaers gedigte sal kan lees (en aflaai) wat tot hulle spreek.
In ‘n mediaverklaring word gesê: “Gesien teen die agtergrond van koerante se ‘In memoriam’ en doodsberigte, is hierdie webruimte en wedstryd uiters relevant. Poësie artikuleer pyn, onsekerheid, en wanneer ons getref word deur die dood, word dit vertroosting.”
“Letterkunde – en du sook hierdie projek – verwoord wat mense voel,” se De Villiers oor die dokumentêr.
“Letterkunde – dit wil sê die mag van die woord en hoe goed ons dit kan ontsluit – vertel ons stories en maak sin van dit wat ons mens maak.”
In die dokkie praat woordmense soos Amanda Stydom, Pieter-Dirk Uys, Francois van Coke, Brandon October en jong digters soos Bibi Slippers en Fourie Botha oor hul liefde vir en verintenis met woordkuns.
R150m for school renovations - July 2017
By Becker Semela
Basic education minister signs a R150m partnership with the AVBOB to renovate schools across the country.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga celebrated Mandela Day in style when she signed a R150m partnership with an AVBOB Funeral Undertaker at Joe Solomon School in Bloemfontein yesterday.
Joining the millions of South Africans celebrating the world icon’s birthday yesterday. Motshekga said there was no reason to applaud a fish for swimming because the late state president Nelson Mandela taught them that to lead is a lifelong service to the people.
“He taught us that you can achieve the status of being referred to as a world icon without having to exhibit the traits of a demigod. The essence of our humanity is found in our humbleness, thrift, courage, self-control and commitment to justice,” Motshekga said after signing the deal.
She said the money would be used for the renovation of schools across the country and it was not yet confirmed how much will be allocated to Free State province.
“We have a responsibility not to betray the memory of Mandela.
“His legacy cannot die while we live hence his statement, ‘A life well lived is a life lived in the service of humanity’ and I may add for no personal gain whatsoever,” the minister said.
She said they indeed owed Mandela and his generation of freedom fighters a debt of gratitude for the work they did at the great personal costs to themselves with no expectation of recognition, high office and, or material gain.
“We gathered in the province launching a ground-breaking multimillion-rand schools infrastructure partnership with AVBOB.
“They donated R150m is for the renovation, refurbishment and building of schools across the country.”
She said the partnership was the single largest investment in the school infrastructure programme by a corporate since she became basic education minister.
“It is important to note that needy pupils and communities in all nine provinces will benefit from this contribution,” Motshekga said.
She said the announcement by the giant funeral undertaker board about the investment in school infrastructure came as no surprise to her.
“Our partnership with them is one that has gone from strength to strength and the work we are doing together is truly changing lives and shaping future generations.
“They become truly a strategic partner and dependable ally in the delivery of quality public schooling.”
The minister further said the giant undertaker takes corporate citizenship very seriously because it understands the significance of basic education in the life of a nation.
“It is often said that basic education is one of the most significant long-term investments a country can make.
“It lays the foundation for a higher quality of life, greater employment opportunities and a better-skilled workforce,” the minister said.
AVBOB CEO Frik Rademan said it was always their pleasure to work with the basic education department.
“We all know that basic education is where all our careers start, with better planning in that stage the future is bright for the children and we will have good leaders tomorrow,” he said.
AVBOB CEO Frik Rademan, left, signed an MoU with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga in Bloemfontein yesterday, where they announced a schools inftrastructure partnership on Mandela Day
AVBOB launches poetry project to grow Ubuntu - July 2017
By Nokuthula Zwane
In celebrating Mandela Day, AVBOB has found an unorthodox way to encourage South Africans to give back to the community through poetry writing.
As the country celebrated the birthday of Madiba, AVBOB launched an “I Wish I’d Said” poetry project to be used as a tool to carry on his legacy of ubuntu.
AVBOB chief executive Frik Rademan, said: “Poetry brings us closer to those we love and binds us to the universe in which we abide.
“Perhaps most importantly of all, poetry brings us closer to our truest selves and reaches chords within us that cannot otherwise be touched. This unique competition is AVBOB’s way of catching hold of a moment and lifting it out of its the ordinary.
“Our sponsorship is aimed at providing a platform for poets, both unknown and lauded, to offer words for comfort through their craft.
“We want to publish as many quality new poems as possible in all 11 of the official South African languages and the website will form the platform which we will launch a nationwide poetry competition.”
One of the contributors to the AVBOB poetry project, Coenie De Villiers, said that it was the first he had heard of a sponsor that put major funds into poetry as such funds usually go into sports.
“The most beautiful and authentic voices you have ever heard in any language across the world are poetry,” De Villiers said.
“People think that using poetry is a little bit unorthodox, but it really isn’t unorthodox. We listen to poetry all day.
“If you put on the radio there is Khuli Chana, AKA and rappers who do some of the most exciting poetry that we have in the world today.
“The target market is for all South Africans with a thought, hope and aspiration and the words to articulate. Enter and let’s see what happens.
“Even if it’s just for the joy of writing.
“I love poetry. I grew up in the previous era in South Africa and one of the only ways where I could really understand what was happening to us was by reading the struggle poetry of the time.
“Hearing the voices that we weren’t allowed to hear then and in that sense, I am also proud of this project because we live in a country where we have freedom of speech and whoever you are, wherever you might be, if you have a voice, write it.”
Yesterday marked 99 years of AVBOB in existence and was on the same day as Madiba’s birthday. It was also on this day that the AVBOB poetry project came to life on their website.
“Now is the time for us, as a nation, to take up the pen and not the sword. This is when we should focus on what unites, rather than divides us. And the AVBOB poetry project strives to do exactly that,” Rademan said.
The competition is expected to run from August 1 to November.
For more information on the competition prizes, entry dates and terms and conditions, visit www.avbobpoetry.co.za.
FOCUSED: AVBOB chief executive Frik Rademan sees poetry as a way of uniting South Africans
Long live Madiba’s loving spirit - July 2017
By Francesca Villette & Nicola Daniels
People across the world are heeding the call in honour of South Africa’s late founding president, Nelson Mandela, to volunteer 67 minutes of their time to do good for the less fortunate.
Nelson Mandela International Day, celebrated on his date of today, was launched following a unanimous decision by the UN General Assembly in 2009, inspired by a call Mandela made for the next generation to take on the mantle of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices.
Today also marks the launch of The Elders’ new global project, Walk Together, in central Cape Town, where Mandela delivered his first address on his release from 27 years’ imprisonment for opposing apartheid.
The event will feature some of the world’s most notable political and community leaders, discussing the world’s ongoing humanitarian issues.
The Elders is the independent group of global leaders founded by Mandela a decade ago, made up of former heads of state, peace activists and human rights advocates.
Elders include Kofi Annan, Ban-ki Moon, Desmond Tutu, Graca Machel, Jimmy Carter, Hina Jilani, Mary Robinson and Ernesto Zedillo.
South Africans and people around the world are urged to open their hearts in honour of Mandela and to do good for the less fortunate, providing necessities or leaving lasting impressions in the form of libraries and care centres.
Education was also very close to Mandela’s heart. This morning Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was due to announce that the AVBOB board donated R150 million for the renovation, refurbishment and building of schools across the country.
It was the single largest investment in a school infrastructure programme by a corporate since she stepped into office, Motshekga said.
AVBOB was among the first in the corporate sector space to partner with the department when it called on social partners to invest in it through the launch of the 1 000 School Libraries a year project, Motshekga said.
“AVBOB is the single largest contributor of fully functional container libraries to primary schools. The value of container libraries is approximately R500 000 each, given to schools all over South Africa. Each Converted Container Library comes with a whopping 2 500 books each, thus benefiting thousands of our learners.”
Last week children at Sakhile Primary School in Heidelberg received a library through the Mandela Day school library project.
It means, for the first time in 51 years, they have books to page through.
The school, which has an 82% pass rate, is aiming for 92% now that the children have the benefit of the library’s 1 000 books.
The library was donated through Old Mutual Insure.
Humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers is implementing R10 million in projects over several days in the biggest project in partnership with Vodacom, where 50 000 food and stationery packs will be distributed to schools in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Polokwane, Nelspruit, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.
The organisation’s West Africa branch is today planting trees and donating teaching aids to the Centre for the Mother and Child in the desert city of Ma’tamoulana, Mauritania.
Gift of the Givers is currently building the centre, which is a traditional Mauritanian educational institute for women of all ages.
Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages is celebrating by preparing 1 000 sandwiches for the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Heideveld, the Heatherdale Children’s Home in Belgravia, Ekuphumleni Frail Care Centre in Gugulethu and Baphumelele Foundation in Khayelitsha.
In further celebration of Madiba’s spirit, Dr Beth Engelbrecht, head of health at the provincial department, and her team will host a celebratory function in thanking sponsors and donors who make it possible for 67 patients to receive life-changing hip and knee replacements, and cataract surgeries.
Leefstyl met Via - Julie 2017
Via (DStv-kannal 147) bring op 18 Julie 2017 om 19:30 hulde aan oupres. Nelson Mandela deur eksklusief 'n spesiale dokumentêr oor die krag van poësie, Ek wou nog sê, uit te saai. In die dokumentêr gesels Coenie de Villiers met bekroonde digters soos Antjie Krog en woordmense soos Francois van Coke oor die poësie se vermoë om dit te verwoord wat ‘n mens nie altyd kan nie. Die uur lange dokumentêr raak ook die poësie se krag om wanhoop te beveg en die dood te verwerk aan. Ek wou nog sê word deur AVBOB en Et Al, die begrafnisondernemer se agentskap, aangebied. Ons het met Coenie gesels oor hierdie projek.
Hoe sal die pojek Suid-Afriakaanse letterkunde en die lewens van Suid-Afrikaanse lesers verryk?
Letterkunde – en du sook hierdie projek – verwoord wat mense voel. Ek dink soms die word “letterkunde” skep ‘n versperring by mense. Pragtige, aangrypende stories wat goed geskryf is, word inderdaad mos eintlik letterkunde, of di nou ‘n roman is wat eerlik en outentiek is, en of dit ‘n gedig is wat jou aan die hart vat. Letterkunde – dit wil sê die mag van die woord en hoe goed ons dit kan onsluit – vertel ons stories, en maak sin van die wat ons mens maak. Dis mos hoe die geskiedenis van die hart van dag tot dag en van jaar tot jaar opteken.
Hoe het jy by die projek en die dokkie betrokke geraak?
Die produksiespan het my genader en gevra of ek die program sou aanbied en die onderhoude doen. Dis min dat iemand jou vra om iets te doen waarin jy werklik kan glo, en so iets is vir my die poësie. Dis ekstra lekker dat daar ‘n borg is wat bereid is om geld te skenk om dit te bevorder. Ek het dadelik “ja” gesê en is voluit betrokke. Ek help ook so bietjie agter die skerms om van die uitvoerings en inkledings bymekaar te sit.
Is poësie ver almal? Wat is jou boodskap aan mense wat voel dit is nie?
Poësie is sonder twyfel vir almal. Dis gewoon cool. Natuurlik is alle poësie nie onmiddellik toeganklik vir almal nie, maar daar is meer as genoeg goeie werk vir almal om betekenis uit te put. En dis mos maar waarom die lewe gaan, nie waar nie? Ons prober almal sin maak van dit wat om ons en met ons gebeur – en dis waarmee poësie ons help. My boodskap is eenvoudig: moenie daarvoor skrik nie, en luister en lees sonder om te oordeel – dit sal ‘n ontkekking wees wat jou lewe verander!
Watter Afrikaanse gedig sal jou altyd diep raak?
Die gedig wat my altyd sal raak, is N.P. van Wyk Louw se “Vroegherfs”. As jongeling het ek dit gelees, en iets het in my hart verskuif. Daarna was poësie my vriend, maar heirdie gedig bly die vertrekpunt.
Wat is vir jou die kosbaarste woord in Afrikaans?
My kosbaarste woord? Deernis.
Ek wou nog sê word vir die eerste keer op Via uitgesaai en die dokumentêr se Engelse weergawe, I wish I’d Said, word op Soweto TV en KZN TV uitgesaai. Ek wou nog sê sal in die volgende tydgleuwe weer op VIA uitgesaai word:
- 19 Julie om 01:30
- 19 Julie om 07:30
- 20 Julie om 13:30
- 22 Julie om 13:30
- 22 Julie om 15:30
- 23 Julie om 03:30
- 23 Julie om 13:00
- 24 Julie om 01:00
Coenie de Villiers is die aanbieder Ek wou nog sê op Via
Press Release: AVBOB Poetry Project - July 2017
I have to confess, finding the right words for this press release is so much more difficult than I ever imagined. At first, it may sound like a fairly simple undertaking, namely the announcement that AVBOB has decided to sponsor a poetry platform, but that would be a gross over-simplification. The truth is, neither AVBOB nor any other business can actually ‘sponsor’ poetry. All we can claim is that we wish to be associated with the power of poetry – and with the beauty of the human spirit.
For a brand to associate itself with poetry is, however, a matter that has to be approached with the utmost care and caution. Poetry is more ancient and established than the world's oldest brands. In fact, it is as old as mankind itself, and has been recorded in all the languages of the world, on cave walls, in parchment rolls and within the antique pages of centuries-old manuscripts. It is alive in books, theatres, music, street sounds, and in the words of figures gathered around braaivleis fires, silhouetted against the African sky. It belongs to philosophers, scientists, clergymen, artists and all who express themselves in language. In short, poetry belongs to us; it is the property of the people.
To suggest that AVBOB can do anything meaningful for poetry would therefore be completely erroneous. Rather, it is the other way around: poetry can mean so much to AVBOB and its people, and it is with this sentiment in mind that I write this statement.
It is important to point out, though, that AVBOB is no ordinary business. It is a business with a long history of caring for people. And it is a business without any shareholders. As a mutual assurance society, we are owned by our policyholders, and this is why we plough our surplus profits back by increasing the value of our policyholders' policies with special bonuses. In the past nine years alone, we have declared R6.5 billion worth of special bonuses. Ever since its inception in 1918, AVBOB has belonged to ordinary people. Indeed, it was originally established for humanitarian reasons to help families in times of need during the difficult years after World War I, when people suffered bitterly.
Today, 99 years later, people still suffer, and despondency is becoming an ever-increasing threat to our self-preservation. Our people are generally divided and riven with uncertainty. Work is scarce, and meaningful work even scarcer.
Squatter camps shoot up like miserable concentration camps all around us. Moreover, the conversations of our time are simultaneously laced with blame and desperation; the one feeds off the other. At this point in time, loss also rears its ugly head at every opportunity.
Loss makes people vulnerable, whether it is the loss of income or the loss of a dream at the death of a loved one – a mother, a father, a child – and, consequently, we are at a loss for words to say goodbye. And if we do not have the words to send off our loved ones, the ritual of parting is muted.
AVBOB's invitation to poets to write poems with an elegiac feel in all our official languages is thus, of itself, a strategic decision, aimed at building a bridge between those who have the words (established and aspiring poets) and those who so desperately need to hear those words (the bereaved). Our sponsorship is thus aimed at providing a platform for poets, both unknown and lauded, to offer words of comfort through their craft.
For centuries, poets have been writing about the seamless cycle of life and death. In fact, it is the genre within which most poets deliver their best work. However, to write - or read - about death is not necessarily a morbid thing. Indeed, death implies life; the one simply cannot exist without the other.
To bring this poetry project to life, we are launching a website – www.avbobpoetry.co.za – on 18 July 2017, on Mandela Day, that will be completely devoted to South African poetry. The main features of the website are twofold. First, we want to publish as many quality new poems as possible, in all 11 of the official South African languages. These poems will be freely available to all lovers of this enchanting and everlasting literary form, and to all those searching for a verse to give expression to the complex and unique emotions they are experiencing.
Secondly, the website will form the platform from which we will launch a nationwide poetry competition. Again, just as AVBOB belongs to the people, so too does poetry – it knows no boundaries, and transcends all differences. For this reason, we have made a massive effort to make the competition as inclusive as possible. The competition will thus be open to all South Africans, in all 11 official languages, to celebrate the richness and diversity of all the voices of our land.
Every language is richly layered with nuances that can only be fully understood by someone who speaks, thinks and dreams in that language. For this reason, we’ve appointed a reputable editor in every one of our official languages to evaluate the entries fairly.
Should a poem be accepted by one of our editors, it will open up a world of exciting new opportunities for the entrant of the poem. First, every poem which is approved by the relevant editor will feature alongside other poems, by both published and unpublished poets, on the AVBOB poetry website, where it will become part of a library of content to provide words of beauty and comfort to the people of South Africa. As a token of our appreciation, an incentive of R300 will be paid for each poem selected.
In addition, all entrants of approved poems will be in line for the AVBOB Poetry Prize, in the specific language categories (there will be a winner in each language). The respective prizes will bring cash rewards. We will announce these winners towards the end of March 2018 and we plan on rolling out the red carpet for them at a prestigious awards ceremony.
This initiative is by no means accidental. I am extremely grateful to say that, over the years, AVBOB has been a proud supporter of the arts in our country. We have always believed that the arts provide emotional and intellectual upliftment for our people, and that it is a way to liberate them from the difficulties of daily life. It is this very sentiment that also drives our support of the Mzansi Youth Choir. It is what motivates our every initiative at the AVBOB Foundation. Ever since we first pledged to do so in 2013, the Foundation has donated 41 container libraries to underprivileged schools. To continue this legacy in a meaningful way, we are busy developing nine new schools that will be opened in 2018, in celebration of our 100th birthday. The formal announcement with regards to this initiative will be made on Mandela Day.
Essentially, this is how we show our hearts to our people. Our slogan promises “We’re here for you”, but because actions speak louder than words, we trust that efforts like these show that we sincerely care for you.
This brings me to the final opportunity that all entrants of the AVBOB poetry competition will be exposed to, and one that I am truly excited about. Every person who enters will stand an equal chance for their work to feature alongside that of some of our most accoladed poets in a 100-poem print anthology, entitled “I wish I’d said”. The anthology will be published in August 2018 – again, to coincide with our centennial. As far as we know, it will be the first time in South African history that a poetry publication will be undertaken on such a scale, in terms of its inclusion of all 11 official languages, and we are immensely grateful that it is within our means to make it possible.
The title of the anthology, “I wish I’d said”, will also be the theme for the poetry competition. This theme resonated deeply with us because all of us, at some point in our lives, have felt regret for the things we’ve left unsaid. Perhaps we wish we’d said, “I love you”, “forgive me” or “I will never forget you”.
Regardless of what this phrase means to each individual, it is our wish that the AVBOB poetry project will become a vehicle for people to finally express those unspoken whispers of the heart.
Poetry brings us closer to those we love, and binds us to the universe in which we abide. Perhaps, most importantly of all, poetry brings us closer to our truest selves, and reaches chords within us that cannot otherwise be touched. This unique competition is AVBOB’s way of “catching hold of a moment, and lifting it out of the ordinary”.
Besides the competition and the anthology that will flow from the project, we have also produced two documentaries on poetry, that are respectively titled “I wish I’d said” and “Ek wou nog sê”. We will finally be able to share this with the people of South Africa on 18 July, when these documentaries make their debut on DStv’s VIA channel, Soweto TV and KZN TV.
These documentaries tap into the psyche of some of the most acclaimed poets of our time, including Antjie Krog and Vincent Oliphant. Also featured are remarkable performances of selected poems and guest appearances by some of our country’s most loved artists, such as Brandon October, Amanda Strydom, Pieter-Dirk Uys, Francois van Coke, as well as the Mzansi Youth Choir.
“I wish I’d said” is presented by retired English professor, poet and academic researcher Tony Ulyatt, and Professor Stanley Madonsela from the Directorate of African Languages at the University of South Africa, and “Ek wou nog sê” is presented by Coenie de Villiers.
In line with the inspiration behind the entire AVBOB poetry project, the main aim of these documentaries is to remind us of this powerful art form in a time of great need, and, perhaps more importantly, to help to bring poetry back to the people on a grander scale.
This is something which I believe we need now, more than ever. Because now, in the month of July, as every South African pauses to reflect on the legacy of our beloved Madiba, we cannot help but confront this irony: all the more, we are increasingly bombarded by messages of adversity and despair.
We believe that poetry has the power to change that. Our nation may be a cauldron of cultures and languages, but we all understand the language of the heart, and poetry gives expression to that language. Poetry brings new hope in the face of hopelessness. When circumstances have blinded us to the beauty of life, poetry empowers us to rediscover that beauty.
When grief has rendered us mute, poetry enables us to capture the legacy of our loved ones for all eternity, and to express our loss in a meaningful way.
Now is the time for us, as a nation, to take up the pen and not the sword. This is when we should focus on what unites, rather than divides us. And the AVBOB poetry project strives to do exactly that.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Persvrystelling: AVBOB-poesieprojek - Julie 2017
Ek moet bieg, om die regte woorde vir hierdie persvrystelling te kry, was moeiliker as wat ek gedink het. Toe ek begin skryf het, het ek gedink dit gaan bloot ‘n aankondiging wees dat AVBOB besluit het om ‘n poësieplatform te borg. Wat die hart van vol is, loop die mond immers van oor. Maar so eenvoudig was en is dit helaas nie, want die waarheid is dat nie AVBOB of enige ander besigheid werklik die digkuns kan ‘borg’ nie. Al waarop ons kan aanspraak maak, is ‘n opregte begeerte om onsself te assosieer met die mag van die digkuns en die skoonheid van die menslike gees.
‘n Handelsmerk wat met poësie geassosieer wil wees, moet met die grootste omsigtigheid te werk gaan, want poësie is meer antiek, meer gevestig as die wêreld se oudste handelsmerk. Trouens, dit is so oud soos die mens self en dit is opgeteken in al die tale van die wêreld – vanaf rotswande en perkamentrolle tot diep in die bladsye van eeu-oue manuskripte. Digkuns leef in boeke, teaters en musiek. Dit vind inspirasie, en neerslag, in straatklanke en gesprekke rondom braaivleisvure, geëts teen teen die uitspansel van Afrika. Digkuns behoort aan filosowe, wetenskaplikes, geestelikes, kunstenaars en almal wat hulself in taal uitdruk. Kortom, poësie behoort aan ons almal; dit is volksbesit.
Om te suggereer dat AVBOB enigsins iets betekenisvol vir poësie kan doen, sou daarom foutief wees. Die teendeel is stellig waar: poësie kan baie vir AVBOB en sy mense beteken, en dit is met dié idee voor oë dat ek hierdie verklaring skryf.
Op hierdie punt wil ek graag daarop wys dat AVBOB nie ‘n gewone onderneming is nie. Dit is ‘n onderneming met ‘n lang geskiedenis van diepe sorgsaamheid. En dit is ‘n besigheid sonder enige aandeelhouers. As ‘n onderlinge versekeringsgenootskap word ons besit deur ons polishouers, en daarom ploeg ons ons surpluswinste terug deur die waarde van ons polishouers se polisse te verhoog. In die afgelope nege jaar alleen het ons polishouers met spesiale bonusse van R6.5 miljard beloon.
Vandag, 99 jaar later, ly mense steeds, en wanhoop word toenemend ‘n bedreiging vir ons selfbehoud. Ons mense is onder mekaar verdeel en hulle is verskeur deur onsekerheid, werk is skaars, en betekenisvolle werk nog skaarser.
Soos lang skaduwees van konsentrasiekampe skiet plakkerskampe op om elke hoek en draai. En die gesprekke wat ons hoor en voer, spreek van verwyt en vertwyfeling, in ‘n immer groeiende afwaartse spiraal. Hier, nou, is verlies ‘n werklikheid wat by elke moontlike geleentheid kop uitsteek.
Verlies maak mense kwesbaar, hetsy dit ‘n verlies aan inkomste is, die verlies van ‘n droom, of van ‘n geliefde – ‘n ma, ‘n pa, ‘n kind. En elke verlies is letterlik te tragies vir woorde – ons sukkel om die woorde te vind om totsiens te sê. En as ons nie die woorde het om afskeid van ons geliefdes te neem nie, is die ritueel van skeiding gedemp.
AVBOB se uitnodiging aan digters om elegiese gedigte in al ons ampstale te skryf, is dus in wese ‘n strategiese besluit wat daarop gemik is om ‘n brug te bou tussen dié wat die woorde het (gevestigde en aspirerende digters) en dié wat so bitter nodig het om die woorde te hoor (die agtergeblewenes). Teen hierdie agtergrond is ons borgskap daarop gemik om ‘n platform te skep vir digters, onbekend en beroemd, om woorde van vertroosting deur hul kuns te bied.
Reeds eeue lank skryf digters oor die soomlose siklus van lewe en dood. Die onderwerp, die kontras, is trouens die genre waarin die meeste digters hul beste werk lewer. Om oor dood te skryf, of daarvan te lees, is nie noodwendig morbied nie. Die teendeel is waar: dood impliseer lewe – die een kan eenvoudig nie sonder die ander bestaan nie. Die filosoof Jean-Paul Sartre stel dit só: “As daar nie dood was nie, was daar nie intensiteit van lewe nie.”
Om die poësieprojek tot stand te bring en momentum daaraan te gee, stel ons ‘n webwerf – www.avbobpoetry.co.za – op 18 Julie 2017 bekend, op Mandeladag. Dié webwerf sal 100% toegewy wees aan Suid-Afrikaanse poësie. Ons doel daarmee is tweevoudig. In die eerste plek wil ons soveel goeie nuwe gedigte as moontlik publiseer, in al 11 van Suid-Afrika se amptelike tale. Hierdie gedigte sal vryelik beskikbaar wees – nie net vir alle liefhebbers van hierdie verruklike en onsterflike literêre vorm nie, maar vir elkeen wat soek na ‘n vers om uitdrukking te gee aan die komplekse en unieke emosies wat hulle ervaar.
In die tweede plek, is die webwerf die platform waarvandaan ons ‘n landwye poësiekompetisie van stapel gaan stuur. Weer eens, net soos AVBOB aan ons mense behoort, behoort poësie aan die mense – digkuns ken geen grense nie, dit strek oor en verby alle verskille. Juis daarom het ons ‘n enorme poging aangewend om die kompetisie so inklusief as moontlik te maak. Dit sal oop wees vir alle Suid-Afrikaners, in al 11 ampstale, om die rykheid en verskeidenheid van al die stemme in ons land te vier.
Elkeen van hierdie ampstale is ryklik gevul met nuanses wat net verstaanbaar sal wees vir iemand wat in die taal praat, dink en droom. En daarom het ons ‘n vooraanstaande redakteur vir elke ampstaal aangestel om die inskrywings regverdig te evalueer. Word ‘n gedig deur een van ons redakteurs aanvaar, maak dit ‘n wêreld van opwindende nuwe geleenthede vir die inskrywer van die gedig oop. Eers sal elke gedig wat deur die relevante redakteur goedgekeur is, verskyn saam met ander gedigte deur gepubliseerde sowel as ongepubliseerde digters, op AVBOB se poësiewebwerf, waar dit deel sal word van ‘n biblioteek van inhoud om woorde van skoonheid en vertroosting te bring aan die mense van Suid-Afrika. As ‘n blyk van ons waardering, sal ‘n prestasieprys van R300 betaal word vir elke gedig wat gekies word.
Daarbenewens sal alle inskrywers van goedgekeurde gedigte kwalifiseer vir die AVBOB Poësieprys in die spesifieke taalkategorie waarvoor dit ingeskryf is (daar sal ‘n wenner in elke taal wees). Die onderskeie pryse sal kontantbelonings behels. Ons sal hierdie wenners teen die einde van Maart 2018 aankondig en ons plan is om by ‘n prestigeryke toekenningseremonie die rooi tapyt vir hulle uit te rol.
Hierdie inisiatief is nie toevallig nie. Ek deel vandag met groot dankbaarheid dat AVBOB reeds jare lank ‘n trotse ondersteuner van die kunste in ons land is. Ons het nog altyd geglo dat die kunste emosionele en intellektuele opheffing vir ons mense bied en dat dit ‘n manier is om mense tot ‘n mate van die bemoeienisse van die daaglikse lewe te bevry. Dit is juis hierdie gewaarwording wat die dryfkrag agter ons ondersteuning van die Mzansi Jeugkoor is. Dit is wat elke inisiatief van die AVBOB Stigting inspireer en motiveer. Sedert ons eerste onderneming in 2013, het die Stigting meer as 41 skeepsvraghouerbiblioteke aan minderbevoorregte skole geskenk. Om hierdie nalatenskap op ‘n betekenisvolle manier voort te sit, is ons besig om nege nuwe skole te ontwikkel wat regoor Suid-Afrika geopen sal word in 2018, ter viering van ons 100ste verjaarsdag. ‘n Formele aankondiging hieroor sal op Mandela-dag gemaak word.
Uiteindelik is dit hoe ons ons harte aan ons mense wys. Ons slagspreuk belowe, “Ons is hier vir jou”. Maar omdat dade soveel dieper en duideliker praat as woorde, vertrou ons dat pogings soos die poësieplatform sal wys dat ons opreg omgee vir jou.
Dit bring my by die finale geleentheid waaraan alle deelnemers aan die AVBOB-poësiekompetisie blootgestel sal word, en waaroor ek baie opgewonde is. Alle gedigte wat ingeskryf word, staan ‘n gelyke kans om opgeneem te word langs die werk van ons beroemdste digters in ‘n gedrukte bloemlesing bestaande uit 100 gedigte, getiteld, “I wish I’d said / Ek wou nog sê”. Die bloemlesing sal in Augustus 2018 verskyn – weer eens om met ons eeufeesviering saam te val.
Sover ons kennis strek, sal dit die eerste keer in Suid-Afrika se geskiedenis wees dat ‘n poësiepublikasie op so ‘n skaal onderneem word met betrekking tot die insluiting van al 11 ampstale. Ons is diep dankbaar dat ons by magte is om dit moontlik te maak.
Die tema van die bloemlesing, “Ek wou nog sê”, sal ook die tema vir die poësiekompetisie wees. Hierdie tema vind ten diepste weerklank by ons, want almal het in een of ander stadium van ons lewens berou gevoel oor dinge wat ons nooit gesê het nie. Miskien wens ons ons het gesê, “Ek is lief vir jou”, “vergewe my” of “ek sal jou nooit vergeet nie”. Wat hierdie frase ook al vir elke individu mag beteken, dit is ons wens dat die AVBOB-poësieprojek vir mense die geleentheid sal gee om uiteindelik uitdrukking te gee aan die onuitgesproke fluisteringe van die siel.
Poësie bring ons nader aan die mense wat ons liefhet, en dit bind ons aan die heelal waarin ons bly bestaan. En miskien, op die heel belangrikste en diepste vlak, bring digkuns ons nader aan ons ware self, deur are en snare te vind wat andersins nie geraak sou word nie. Hierdie unieke kompetisie is AVBOB se unieke manier om “die oomblik aan te gryp en dit ver bo die alledaagse te verhef”.
Afgesien van die kompetisie en die bloemlesing wat uit die projek sal spruit, het ons ook twee dokumentêre programme oor digkuns vervaardig, onderskeidelik getiteld “I wish I’d said” en “Ek wou nog sê”. Op 18 Julie sal ons uiteindelik in staat wees om dit met die mense van Suid-Afrika te deel, wanneer dié programme op DStv se VIA-kanaal, Soweto TV en KZN TV hul debuut maak.
Dié dokumentêre programme bied ‘n diepgaande blik, en insig, in die psige van ‘n spektrum van die mees erkende en geliefde digters van ons tyd, onder meer Antjie Krog en Vincent Oliphant. Daar is ook merkwaardige uitvoerings deur van ons land se mees geliefde kunstenaars, insluitend Brandon October, Amanda Strydom, Pieter-Dirk Uys en Francois van Coke, asook die Mzansi Jeugkoor.
“I wish I’d said” word aangebied deur die afgetrede Engelse professor, digter en akamediese navorser Tony Ulyatt en professor Stanley Madonsela van die direktoraat van Afrikatale aan die Universiteit van Suid-Afrika. “Ek wou nog sê” word aangebied deur Coenie de Villiers.
In tandem met die inspirasie agter die hele AVBOB-poësieprojek, is die hoofdoelwit van die dokumentêre programme om ons te herinner aan hierdie kragdadige kunsvorm in ‘n tyd van groot nood en, miskien selfs belangriker, om te help om digkuns op ‘n groter en meer grootse skaal terug te bring in mense se lewens.
Dit is iets wat ek glo ons nou, meer as ooit tevore, nodig het, want nou, in die maand van Julie, terwyl elke Suid-Afrikaner terugdink aan en nadink oor die nalatenskap van ons geliefde Madiba, moet ons noodgedwonge die ironie in die gesig staar dat ons des te meer gebombardeer word met boodskappe van wanhoop en rampspoed.
Ons glo dat poësie die mag het om dit verander. Ons volk is weliswaar ‘n kookpot van kulture en tale, maar ons almal verstaan die taal van die hart, en poësie gee bowenal uitdrukking aan hierdie taal. Poësie bring nuwe hoop te midde van wanhoop. Wanneer omstandighede ons blind maak vir die skoonheid van die lewe, gee poësie ons die krag om daardie skoonheid te herontdek. Wanneer smart ons stom laat, gee poësie ons die krag om die nalatenskap van ons geliefdes vir ewig vas te vang, en ons verlies op ‘n betekenisvolle manier uit te druk.
Die tyd het aangebreek vir ons om, as ‘n nasie, die pen op te neem, en nie die swaard nie – om te fokus op wat ons verenig eerder as dít wat ons verdeel. En dit is presies waarna die AVBOB-poësieprojek streef.
Met hartlike groete en goeie wense,
HOOF UITVOERENDE BEAMPTE
Draaipunt met Frik Rademan: My sake en lewensfilosofie is geskoei op harde werk - April 2016
Andries van Zyl | 7 April 2016 19:30
RSG Geldsake en Investec Batebestuur bied tans ‘n weeklikse gespreksreeks aan oor besonderse draaipunte in die lewens van prominente Suid-Afrikaners. Die onderhoude word volledig as potgooie op Moneyweb se webtuiste geplaas, terwyl uittreksels van die gesprekke ook hier op RSG Geldsake uitgesaai word. Die Moneyweb webtuiste waar die volledige onderhoude gehoor kan word, die is www.moneyweb.co.za.
Vandag se gas is Frik Rademan, hoof van die AVBOB begrafnis- en versekeringsgroep wat oor die afgelope 98 jaar ‘n huishoudelike naam vir miljoene Suid-Afrikaners geword het.
ANDRIES VAN ZYL: Goeiedag Frik.
FRIK RADEMAN: Goeiemiddag Andries.
ANDRIES VAN ZYL: Kom ons begin die gesprek deur AVBOB se geskiedenis op te grawe by wyse van spreke – die ontstaan en ontwikkeling oor byna 10 dekades.
FRIK RADEMAN: Andries baie dankie, ja AVBOB is amper 100 jaar oud, oor twee jaar is ons 100 jaar oud, en AVBOB het begin in 1918 na die Eerste Wêreld Oorlog toe die oorlogsveterane met hulle die Spaanse-griep na Suid-Afrika gebring het. Daar het meer mense in een dag gesterf as in vergelyking met ‘n maand. Die mense kon nie ‘n begrafnis bekostig nie en ‘n paar filantrope het saamgekom en besluit hulle moet iets doen. Hulle het ook vir die liefde van die saak gewerk en die Afrikaanse Verbond is gestig. Gou het hulle agtergekom daar was wel fondse in die versekeringsgenootskap, maar hulle kon nie ‘n begrafnis uitvoer nie. So in 1921 het hulle ‘n bankrot begrafnissaak in Bloemfontein gekoop en AVBOB Begrafnisdiens is gestig, en vandaar af het AVBOB net gegroei en vandag is AVBOB nogsteeds ‘n mutual. Die mutual word beheer deur sy polishouers, so ons het geen eksterne aandeelhouers nie en al ons surplus winste word uitgekeer aan ons polishouers wat ons uniek maak. AVBOB het gegroei. Vandag sit ons met so ongeveer 250 takke in Suid-Afrika, so ongeveer 20 in Namibië en ons verseker so 1.6 miljoen polishouers, ons het 1.6 miljoen polishouers en ons verseker 4.6 miljoen lewens in Suid-Afrika, en elke lewe wat verseker word onder ‘n polis is geregtig op ‘n gratis begrafnis by AVBOB, as hulle na AVBOB kom vir die uitvoering van die begrafnisdiens.
ANDRIES VAN ZYL: Frik ‘n 100 jaar, dis bykans, dis ‘n eeu. Dis ‘n geweldige lang tyd. Enkele van die hoofredes vir AVBOB se sakewelslae?
FRIK RADEMAN: Andries ek dink soos met enige besigheid moet ‘n besigheid deurlopend verander en aanpas by veranderde omstandighede, en ek dink dis wat AVBOB uniek maak en ook ons besigheidmodel as ‘n onderlinge versekeringsgenootskap. Ons is eintlik die enigste onderlinge versekeringsgenootskap in Suid-Afrika, en dit maak ons uniek want ons kan spesiale voordele aan ons polishouers gee wat dit bietjie moeilik maak vir ander mense, so ek sal sê deurlopende verandering. Oor die jare het AVBOB baie gehelp om tred te hou met die nuwe Suid-Afrika.
ANDRIES VAN ZYL: Kom ons verskuif die gesprek na Frik Rademan, gebore, grootgeword?
FRIK RADEMAN: Andries ja, ek is gebore in Brakpan in Gauteng, ek het my laerskool loopbaan daar begin, Laërskool Môrewag. My pa het in die myn gewerk en toe ek in St. 1 was het die goudmyne toegemaak en my pa is verplaas na Welkom. Daar het ek my laerskool loopbaan verder gevoer en ek het gematrikuleer aan die Hoërskool Welkom Gimnasium. Na matriek het ek eers my een jaar verpligte militêre diensplig gaan doen voordat ek gaan studeer het. Ongelukkig kon my ouers dit nie bekostig om vir my studies te betaal nie, en ek het toe werk gekry by ‘n plaaslike ouditeursfirma in Welkom waar ek ingeskryf het as leerlingouditeur, en daar het ek ook begin studeer deur die Universiteit van Suid-Afrika.
ANDRIES VAN ZYL: Vertel vir ons kortliks van die ontwikkeling van jou beroepsloopbaan voordat jy nou by AVBOB uitgekom het?
FRIK RADEMAN: Andries, ja nadat ek my klerkskap voltooi het en my B.Com graad gekry het, het ek by Anglo American aangesluit as ‘n senior winste-ontleder in Welkom. Ek het baie lekker daar gewerk vir 2 jaar, maar die organisasie was ‘n bietjie groot vir my, ek het gevoel soos ‘n druppel in ‘n emmer. Dit was moeilik om ‘n verskil te maak en in 1982 is ek aangestel as die finansiële bestuurder van AVBOB Nywerhede in Bloemfontein, en ek het dadelik tuis gevoel by die organisasie en ek het vir my ‘n toekoms daar gesien, maar ek het nooit in my wildste drome gedink ek gaan die hoof uitvoerende beampte van die maatskappy word nie.
ANDRIES VAN ZYL: As jy nou terug kyk vandag in retrospek, wat sou jy sê het die AVBOB beroepsrigting vir jou daai tyd so aantreklik gemaak?
FRIK RADEMAN: Andries, ja, ek is in 1989 verplaas na hoofkantoor toe as hoof van finansies van die groep. Nou AVBOB was nie ‘n baie groot maatskappy op daardie stadium nie, maar wat vir my baie belangrik was – dis ‘n baie diverse maatskappy met ‘n begrafnis maatskappy, met ‘n lewensversekeringsmaatskappy, jy het beleggings wat jy doen, jy belê polishouers se fondse en goed, so daar was vir my ‘n baie goeie leerkurwe waarvan ek gehou het, en ek dink ek het oor die jare gegroei in die maatskappy en ek het saam met die maatskapy gegroei en ek het deur die verskillende stappe gegaan en ek het verskillende poste beklee. Ek het later die finansiële direkteur geword, toe later die besturende direkteur van die versekeringsmaatskappy en uiteindelik aangestel as hoof uitvoerende beampte van die maatskappy, en dis nou 34 jaar later.
ANDRIES VAN ZYL: Kom ons praat oor enkele draaipunte wat ‘n besonderse verskil in jou lewe gemaak het.
FRIK RADEMAN: Andries, ja ek dink daar is draaipunte in ons almal se lewe en tot ‘n mindere en meerdere mate maak hulle verskille. Daar’s ‘n paar in my lewe wat ‘n verskil gemaak het, ek dink die eerste draaipunt in my lewe was toe ek as ‘n jong man my dienspligjaar gedoen het en ‘n gedeelte daarvan op die grens met grensdiens gespandeer het. Ek het uit ‘n baie beskermde omgewing gekom en ses maande later doen jy grensdiens. Dit was werklik vir my twee verskillende wêrelde, en ek dink dit het ‘n ou gehelp om volwasse te word. Ek dink ‘n tweede aspek wat ek baie gelukkig was in my lewe – ek het vroeg in my lewe blootstelling gehad op direksie vlak, nie-uitvoerende onafhanklike direkteure. Ek kon luister hoe hulle praat en hoe hulle dink en dit het vir my verskriklik baie gehelp. ‘n Ander aspek in my lewe wat my baie laat nadink het, in die middel negentigs het my vrou baie ernstig siek geword en ons kinders was baie klein op daardie stadium, ons het nie ‘n infrastruktuur gehad nie. Ons ouers was in die Vrystaat gewees so ek was pa, ma en ek was ‘n senior amptenaar by AVBOB wat baie tyd geverg het, en dit het my laat besef dat die lewe kan kort wees – ‘n ou moet maar elke dag die beste daarvan maak. En dan met my aanstelling as hoof uitvoerende beampte het die destydse voorsitter van die raad, en ek wil graag sy naam noem, Nols Greeff, aan my gesê ‘Frik, jy het nou die geleentheid om te verander en jou visie uit te leef’, en ek het van die geleentheid gebruik gemaak en ek dink ek het verandering in plek geplaas. Die laaste aspek wat ek miskien beskou as ‘n draaipunt in my lewe, AVBOB het ‘n paar jaar gelede begin met ‘n projek waar ons ou skeepvraghouers koop en omskep in biblioteke, en die biblioteke dan voorsien met ongeveer 4000 boeke, en dan hierdie biblioteke skenk aan minderbevoorregte skole regdeur die land. Ons het sover ongeveer 30 van hulle oorhandig aan die gemeenskappe, en met die oorhandiging van die biblioteke aan die gemeenskappe het ek tot die besef gekom watter armoede is daar in ons land. Ek dink nie ons besef dit nie, jy moet dit sien voordat jy dit besef. Die tweede aspek wat my getref het is die stryd wat die minderbevoorregte mense voer teen ontwikkeling en ongeletterdheid. Dit is iets ysliks en ek dink dit het vir my nogal, ek wil amper sê my oë oopgemaak en ek het met ‘n ander perspektief na die skole begin kyk.
ANDRIES VAN ZYL: Wat sal jy sê het jou gehelp om die draaipunte te maak werk, draaipunte kan so maklik mislukkings ook word?
FRIK RADEMAN: Ja, ek dink ‘n ou besef nie dadelik dis ‘n draaipunt in jou lewe nie. Ons almal is baie besig en terwyl dit met jou gebeur besef jy dit nie, en ek dink daarna as jy bietjie gaan sit en dink dan kom jy agter dit het onbewustelik jou lewe begin verander en jy dink anders oor goed as wat jy voorheen gedink het.
ANDRIES VAN ZYL: Wat is jou sakefilosofie Frik, jou lewensfilosofie?
FRIK RADEMAN: Andries, ja ek dink my sake- en lewensfilosofie is geskoei op harde werk, wat ook vir my baie belangrik is, is dissipline. Ek dink nie enige organisasie of instelling of huishouding kan funksioneer sonder dissipline nie. Dissipline is vir my baie belangrik, integriteit is vir my belangrik en ek dink dan moet mens eienaarskap neem, as jy nie eienaarskap neem nie kan dit nie werk nie. Maar ‘n ou moet ook versigtig wees, jy moet altyd die menslike faktor in ag neem. Vanuit ‘n besigheid is ‘n ou altyd geneig om besigheidsbesluite te neem, maar jy moet ook na die menslikheidsfaktor kyk, want sonder mense kan jy nie jou besigheid dryf nie. En dan dink ek wat ook belangrik is, ‘n mens moet verander. Jy kan nie net sê ek het gestudeer en ek het nou ‘n graad nie. Jy moet jou deurlopend verander, jy moet verander saam met die veranderde omstandighede, jy moet tred hou met die veranderinge – ons lewe in ‘n absoluut veranderde wêreld.
ANDRIES VAN ZYL: Frik ter afsluiting, enkele woorde van advies aan mede Suid-Afrikaners wat op die uitkyk is vir geleenthede om draaipunte in hul lewens te skep?
FRIK RADEMAN: Andries ja, ek dink ‘n ou moet maar versigtig wees, jy is geneig om te oorhaastig te wees in die lewe, en ek dink as jy oorhaastig is maak ‘n ou baie foute. Ek dink ‘n man moet maar bedag daarop wees. Ek dink daar is altyd geleenthede, en dit gaan nie baie goed met die ekonomie in ons land nie, maar ek dink daar is baie geleenthede. Dan wil ek weer terug kom na die harde werk, dissipline, integriteit, menslikheid. Ek dink dis baie belangrik en ek dink ‘n ou moet passievol wees. As jy nie passievol is nie gaan dit nie werk nie, en in besigheid moet ‘n mens soms dapper en ongewilde besluite neem, en dit skep ‘n bietjie probleme by tye. Ek dink ook jy moet ‘n visie hê en ‘n rigting en as jy nie ‘n visie het nie, kan jou mense jou nie volg nie hulle kan nie inkoop by jou nie. Dis vir my belangrik dat jy ‘n visie en ‘n rigting het, en ek dink laastens moet ‘n mens maar kyk dat jy die beste mense wat jy kan aanstel waarop jy kan vertrou, jy moet met hulle konsulteer jy moet luister wat hulle sê en op die ou einde van die dag moet jy dan maar jou besluit neem op grond van die advies wat jy gekry het.
ANDRIES VAN ZYL: Frik baie dankie vir jou tyd, baie dankie vir die gesprek, voorspoed met AVBOB ons sien uit daarna om oor twee jaar weer te praat wanneer AVBOB sy 100-jarige bestaan vier.
FRIK RADEMAN: Dankie Andries.
ANDRIES VAN ZYL: Dit was dan Frik Rademan, hoof van die AVBOB versekeringsgroep.