Try not to die if you live in Accra – the authorities do not have anywhere to put you. Apparently, the capital is running out of burial space or is close to it.
Some estimates suggest that by end of 2018 all the three major cemeteries in Accra – Awudome, Osu, and La as well as its outer areas will have run out of space.
With a shortage of space in cemeteries, private operators have seen the healthy returns generated by investing in graveyards.
Gethsemane Memorial garden is one of such investors.
The cemetary has moved in to fill the gap for Ghana's elite offering a single plot for 28,200 cedis ($ 6000) and double occupancy for 39,200 cedis( $9000) at its site on the edge of East Legon,a suburb of Accra.
This payment is for a twenty-year lease.
The 5-acre grounds, built in 2012, is a stunning example of the urban cemetery, with a great view and manicured lawns all year round.
Investing in cemeteries is a serious business in Ghana, says Albert Eyeson, assistant manager at Gethsemane Memorial Garden.
He has been in the trade for quite a long time and he tells Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa(BISSA) how the private cemetery started.
"Since 2012, Gethsemane Memorial Garden has provided a solemn sanctuary of peace in a classic formal garden where life can be remembered, families are reunited and memories are made palpable. Apparently, the garden was re-modified from an already existing graveyard", he tells BISSA.
Albert says, the garden averagely buries five bodies every month.
"It's a very profitable business and sometimes unstable, you can't force people to die," he says.
But he is aware of the sensitivity around having a successful business that relies on death.
"We are not happy when people die," he explains. "We feel pity. We feel like giving them a befitting farewell after life her."
What makes the cemetery very pricey?
It is expensive because it is situated on a prime real estate. Also, maintenance costs are high. For example; six thousand gallons of water are drawn daily to keep the lawns green.
It was super revealing and quite surprising when Emmanuel told BI SSA that people actually make arrangements to reserve spaces for people who are yet to die.
" We get people coming around to reserve burial spaces for their families, so that when they die their bodies will be buried here"
Beyond the regular leasing of burial plots
Apart from the basic services of leasing a burial plot, the garden does re-interment , cremation and also holds church services.
Ashes from cremated bodies is buried at 12,000 cedis ($2700).
After payment of the burial plot, the only expense made by the customer is the memorial headstone.
But what happens if a family fails to renew their lease agreement? This is what he tells BI SSA.
Management would consider it as a loss of interest and decision will be taken depending on the circumstances at that time. Per the garden's terms and conditions, management can exhume bodies if the family fails to play by the contract after the 20 years lease period.
"We dig up graves when families fail to renew the contract. The bones are collected from the grave, gathered into a smaller wooding box and reburied at a place called an estuary. Then the plot is sold to another family", he added.
You may not be able to live among the rich and famous, but you can afford to be dead among them.