Matthias Ntare is the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Funeral Services and the only full-time staff of the company.
Born on June 3 , 1968 in Iganga District Uganda, he attended Buluba Primary School then completed his O’ and A’ level education at Jinja Secondary School and Jinja College respectively.
“I rejoined the seminary at Spirit Missionary of Arusha for two years offering a course in Philosophy then moved to Tangaza Theological College in Kenya. That is when I realized that priesthood was not my calling so I quit and moved back to Uganda. While there I worked with Uganda Constitution Commission as the Documentation Assistant but after the drafting of the Constitution I became jobless for over two years.”
“After a while, I got a job with Caltex Uganda as a Lubricant Supervisor although I later quit since I had to resume studies hence graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration,” Ntare narrates.
He later returned to work with a church under the Uganda Catholic Charismatic renewal before joining the Rwanda Funeral Services.
“When it’s the first time for someone to work at this company, they are scared but with time they get used since it becomes normal and you realize that death is part of life. Just as someone is born, at some point they will die although most people think that with this kind of job you always wish for people to die but it’s like any other kind of service offered for instance a car mechanic does not pray for cars to break down neither do doctors pray for people to fall sick,” Ntare said.
“Rwanda Funeral Services started in November 2008 so we recruit workers depending on the jobs available. In most cases we get clients once a week, for instance the driver is outsourced if there is a job to be done.”
“We also contract young men known as the pole bearers; these assist the bereaved to take care of the deceased right from the mortuary to the cemetery,” Ntare said.
When asked to give a detailed structure of the services offered, he said:
“Most times we work with other organizations in cases whereby the deceased is supposed to be brought in or taken out of the country thus much of our work is coordination.”
“In most cases the relatives of the deceased come to our offices and we discuss the rates of the services to be offered since they vary depending on what the bereaved wants. However, according to most of our clients, work starts from the mortuary until the day of burial. We offer transport services, coffins or caskets as well as Pole bearers who in most cases are dressed in black suits and carry the coffin.”
Usually staff at the mortuary clean and dress up the deceased then place them into the casket or coffin then the pole bearers take on from there. A trolley that moves the casket to different points especially in and out of houses or churches is available.
Among other services, the company offers a tent and a carpet which are set up either at the church and the cemetery. At the time of lowering the casket a machine known as the lowering device is used. The pole bearers do the job of lowering caskets which is different from earlier days when undertakers used ropes to lower the coffin into the grave.
“Our aim is to offer professional arrangement services so as to send off a loved one in a dignified way. When we lose loved ones, in most cases we are grieving and since its not planned, things just don’t fall in place for instance one has to buy the coffin, transport is needed and so many other things: Also costs escalade so the whole process becomes hectic but as a funeral service company, we step in and help out. Naturally death is something we can never get used to.”
“The more you relieve the bereaved from the sorrow, it helps in the healing process,” Ntare said.
Ntare has been married to Theopisita Basirika for nine years and they have been blessed with three children, two daughters Gloria 8 years, and Gracious and a son, Alvin.
Dish: Chicken and roasted Irish potatoes
Music: Gospel songs
Artist: Theogene Uwirigyimana
Quote: ‘Whatever you want you can get.’