Traditional leader Tshekede Pitso had his very own highway to heaven after his family honoured his final wish to be buried inside his trusty Mercedes Benz.
Chief Pitso, 72, was driven to his final resting place on the back of a trailer dressed in his favourite white suit with both his hands attached to the steering wheel.
Then, funeral directors guided the 1980s E500 Mercedes down ramps and into the ‘grave’, which had been specially dug out by an excavator to eight feet deep.
The former businessman and married father-of-six was then laid to rest with an official religious ceremony at the family funeral plot at their home in South Africa.
Traditional leader Tshekede Pitso seen here clasping the wheel in death. He asked that he be buried this way by officials, under direction of his family
Funeral guests seen here watching Chief Pitso’s Mercedes Benz being lowered into the ‘grave’
Chief Pitso’s prized Mercedes Benz on a trailer with him inside, moments before the burial
The high ranking United Democratic Movement politician became the talk of the nation with his bizarre funeral, which saw villagers break virus lockdown rules to attend.
Daughter Sefora Letswaka, 49, said: ‘My father was once a wealthy businessman and had a fleet of Mercedes cars, but towards the end he hit on hard times and they went.
‘About two years ago he bought himself a second-hand Mercedes Benz. It wasn’t long before it broke down, but he still spent much of his time in it outside the house.
‘He couldn’t drive it, but that was where he was happy and spent much of his time, sitting behind the wheel and said when the time came he wanted to be buried in it.
‘We listened to him and honoured his wish and hope he is happy looking down on us,’ she said after the funeral in Jozana village in Sterkspruit, which is in the Eastern Cape.
Villagers in Jozana village in Sterkspruit, watching the chief’s Mercedes lowered into the 8ft-deep grave under a large white sheet with him inside holding the steering wheel
Last rites paid here to the traditional leader Tshekede Pitso, who has five surviving children
A funeral bouquet of red and white flowers laid on top of the covered Mercedes in Jozana
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said: ‘You were flamboyant even in death and I’m not surprised you asked to be taken to your final resting place in your favourite Mercedes Benz.’
The former supermarket chain owner was a respected local chief and villagers turned out in their droves to watch the leader being towed to his grave through the streets.
Chief Pitso collapsed and died last week after stepping out of his home to walk to his trusty Mercedes parked on the drive, where he would listen to the car stereo and ‘just chill’.
Family sources said the widower was not unwell, but simply died of old age and that he had specified to his surviving three daughters and two sons to bury him in his car.
Thabiso Mantutle, director of the Phomolong Funeral Parlour, said: ‘We have never had such a request before to be buried in a car and it was a difficult and stressful task to undertake.
‘We had to make sure we had all the correct measurements to completely bury the car and to construct the ramp to get it in the grave and get all the correct paperwork done.
‘We got all the official permissions from all the relevant authorities to carry out the funeral’ he said.