The known and widespread availability of the internet in Kenya has improved the lives of millions of people by enabling the launch of various products that make daily work more convenient, while also providing them with a source of income (the penetration rates for feature phones and smartphones as a percentage of the total population is 66.5 and 56.4 percent respectively as of Q1 2022/2023). For instance, e-taxi apps, logistics services, and payment services would not exist without the internet infrastructure that has been established in the country.
One of the newest services that seek to leverage the space is deathcare services. You can call it digital deathcare, which refers to the use of technology to manage end-of-life planning, funeral arrangements, and memorialization. This can include online wills and estate planning tools, virtual funeral services, and digital memorials such as online obituaries and social media tributes, to mention a few.
The service has been launched by an upcoming Kenyan startup called SafiriSalama.com. It has launched an end-of-life platform, which will offer digital death notices, memorials, and a directory of funeral services.
The platform reports that its tools will play an essential role in digitally helping people outline their end-of-life wishes. This will be done in the form of virtual funeral services, online obituaries, and tools to help families plan and organize funeral arrangements, as well as creating and sharing digital memorials, such as online obituaries, tribute pages, and social media memorials.
“Africans tend to avoid discussions about death or end-of-life planning”, says John Nyongesa, the Founder and CEO. “This lack of knowledge creates an opportunity for exploitation, as people are uninformed and emotionally vulnerable when a loved one passes away. No other business deals with such a vulnerable group.”
The end-of-life industry in Africa has undergone significant changes with the demographic shift, urbanization, and growth of a free-market economy. The traditional image of a roadside coffin and hearse supplier has been replaced by a new and evolving industry – SafiriSalama
SafiriSalama.com has raised $100,000 or KES 12.4 million from a US angel investor for product development. They are now in a pre-seed funding round to finance marketing, hiring, and product improvements.
SafiriSalama.com released a beta version in November 2021 and is presently undergoing a one-year introduction and consolidation campaign in Kenya. Afterward, the platform plans to expand its services to other African markets.