Custom-built coffins are making the reputation of carpenter Seth Kane Kwei in Ghana and throughout the African continent.
Custom-built coffins are making the reputation of carpenter Seth Kane Kwei in Ghana and throughout the African continent. For Kwei is no ordinary craftsman, and his ingenuity at providing for the afterlife has brought a bulging order book at his workshop at Tes???e fishing town, just outside Accra.
Instead of the usual hexagonal box, Mr. Kwei shrewdly provides for the wishes of the deceased. Ghanaian cocoa farmers are buried in wooden cocoa pods; chiefs favour eagles; diplomats Mercedes cars; and fishermen like canoes (though one man chose to be buried in something he avoided in life -- an alligator).
Cost ranges from GBP 20 sterling for more simple creations to GBP 120 for one of the workshops more elaborate designs.
So far Mr. Kwei, his assistant and eight apprentices have made ???r three-hundred highly individual coffins. But the Ghanaian carpenter also enjoys showing his versatility -- making furniture, building litters for chieftains and even putting roofs on houses.
SYNOPSIS: Personalized coffins, tailor-made to the requirements of the deceased, are the speciality of a Ghanaian carpenter, whose fame is spreading throughout Africa. At his workshop in the fishing town of Teshie, outside Accra, some extraordinary last wishes take shape.
Mr. Seth Kane Cay, here working on one of his custom-built coffins, is the man behind the concept. He started out by fashioning a coffin in the style of a Mercedes Benz for his wife's ailing grandfather, and since then he's never looked back. The Mercedes is still popular -- a surefire success with diplomats. But today the workshop at Teshie turns out an extraordinary variety of coffins.
Chiefs like to be buried in a replica of the king of birds -- the eagle -- or else a lion. At the other end of the social scale, fishermen like to be buried in canoe coffins. And one man ended up inside an alligator -- in the shape of a coffin, that is. Now the popularity of the workshop has spread to such an extent that Mr. Kwei is attracting buyers from abroad, as well.
Cocoa is still Ghana's biggest crop, and cocoa farmers find it fashionable to be buried in giant-sized cocoa pods. The cost of buying a coffin from Mr. Kwei ranges from twenty pounds for the simpler creation, to a hundred and twenty pounds for the more elaborate versions. At these princes, Mr. Kwei is contribution to a whole new standard of dying.