It is a sight so macabre that passing motorists stop and stare or pop in to offer heartfelt condolences.
But what may seem like a grave situation is actually a practical joke that has reaffirmed a Port Elizabeth couple’s belief in people’s generally good natures.
Two weeks ago, a small “grave” marked with a wooden cross popped up on the verge outside the Lovemore Heights home of Lila and Henk Grootendorst.
Yesterday, the couple explained that the “grave” – visible from both sides of the busy thoroughfare which links Buffelsfontein Road to Bernard Road in Lovemore Heights – was a prank they had pulled as they loved to get people talking.
No stranger to the public ogling their home, the Grootendorsts bought the property in Melsetter Road five years ago.
The house is well known in the Bay, as they display spectacular Christmas scenes complete with a light show that attracts thousands of people.
Last month, while contractors were laying fibre cables in the neighbourhood, a heap of sand and rubble was left next to their driveway – and so their prank was born.
“They were digging up everyone’s yards,” Lila, 47, said.
“One day, when we came home the hole was closed and it looked like a grave, so we put a cross in it.
“We actually put flowers down as well,” she said, chuckling.
In what was meant as a lighthearted joke, Lila said they had placed flowers at the site because “fibre was lying there”.
On one side of the cross, they inscribed the words, “Hier lê ons . . .” and, on the other, they wrote “Fibre, April ’17” (Here lies our Fibre, April ’17).
Since then, they have had a number of inquiries about the “grave”, with two young women even stopping to offer their condolences.
Others knocked on the door to ask if it was a real grave or if they had buried a family pet.
“Why would I name my dog Fibre?” Lila said jokingly yesterday.
She said they often poked fun at things and were well-known for their antics.
“We always do something to get people talking.”
Charlo resident Gavin Harris, 32, said he had noticed the cross about a week ago but did not quite know what to make of it.
“I saw it there about a week ago as I drove past,” he said.
“I didn’t stop so I didn’t see what was written on the cross.
“It was a bit confusing because it looks a lot like an actual gravesite.”
Harris said he thought the site could be a pet’s grave or social commentary on some or other issue.
Told that it was a prank, Harris laughed, saying it was a good one.
Lila said she was pleased to see that people still had respect as the cross had not been removed and the flowers had dried up or blown away rather than being stolen.
“I see now there is a tyre mark from a motorbike or something running over it but I don’t know where that comes from,” she said.