Home South African No reburial date set yet for century-old remains

No reburial date set yet for century-old remains

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At the request of the families, the university had done another presentation on results of a scientific study.

The ongoing saga of what to do with century-old skeletal remains in the possession of the University of Cape Town is nowhere near finalisation.

The university and San leaders have again visited the families related to some of the nine sets of remains, including the Stuurman family in Sutherland, and also visited the cemetery where the remains were originally buried and “obtained unethically” by the university.

UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said that at the request of the families, the university had done another presentation on results of a scientific study.

He said talks about the Sutherland restoration process were set to continue this month. However, no reburial date has been finalised at the stage.

The Eastern Cape branch of the Stuurman family insisted that they wanted to engage with UCT regarding the remains.

Edmund Stuurman, from Uitenhage, said they were not afforded an opportunity by the university to state their claims.

Edmund said they asked the UCT Council for an opportunity to show that “we have a legitimate claim on our sacred ancestral remains, and that the university should engage us in an open and transparent process of restitution”.

Edmund said the Eastern Cape branch of the family was looking forward to speaking to the university and “make our ancestor to finally come and rest in peace with his fathers in his heritage ground in the Gamtoos River Valley in the Eastern Cape”.

In an e-mail sent to Edmund on Saturday, Arts and Culture’s heritage policy, research and development director Kgomotso Mokgethi said national and provincial officials had held a meeting with the university last week to discuss a letter of request that UCT had sent to Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul, asking him to “engage” with Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa about the reburial of the Sutherland 9.

“Upon engagement with the department, it was agreed that a special meeting involving the three structures must be held to iron out issues of concern and chart a way forward,” Mokgethi said.

She said the meeting recommended that one final general consultation with all Stuurmans, from the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, and Western Cape, be held before the end of February this year.

She said for that reason, “we wish to request you to brief the community and nominate at least 4-5 members to represent the community at the consultative session. The transport arrangements, date and venue will be confirmed in due course”.