The West African state of Ghana recently received its first-ever archetype of the casket used for the burial of international pop icon Michael Jackson at Kotoka International Airport. The lavish casket is set for the burial of Ghanaian business woman and CEO of local radio station Madam Abena Achiaa who died aged 71 at Ghana’s Korle -Bu Teaching Hospital.
Jackson was laid to rest in a $25,000 customized casket produced by Batesville Casket Company in Indiana, which has also provided luxurious caskets for several high-end clients, including U.S. heads of state, renowned sports personalities, and entertainers.
His glamorous coffin — named the Promethean — is reported to be the same casket used for the burial of James Brown.
Ghanaian funerals remain an essential ceremony of many rites, where families and loved ones not only mourn the dead but also celebrate the deceased’s life and achievements.
The culture of celebrating the dead has not only benefited funeral homes but also carpenters who manufacture and create iconic designs to represent both the careers of the dead and their lives (see below).
According to a funeral planner’s estimate, “an average funeral should cost between $15,000 to $20,000” — a development that has attracted the concern of Ghanaian legislator Alban Bagbin who argues that funeral expenses far outweigh the funds invested in the living. “We are investing in the dead rather than the living … and that is bad,” Bagbin told CNN.
Whatever one’s take on funerals, it will continue to remain one of the most lavish events in the culture and tradition of African societies, with Ghana being a chief example.