UCT to re­turn re­mains of 9 ‘Khoi slaves’

To be ex­am­ined for a bi­o­log­i­cal re­port

Cape Times - - METRO - YOLISA TSWANYA yolisa.tswanya@inl.co.za

UCT says it is in the process of re­turn­ing the re­mains of nine peo­ple found in their ar­chives to their de­scen­dants.

This is part of fur­ther­ing trans­for­ma­tion and re­dress­ing past in­jus­tices, ac­cord­ing to the in­sti­tu­tion.

The skele­tal re­mains were traced to be­long to a Suther­land fam­ily, said UCT vice-chan­cel­lor Mamokgethi Phak­eng.

She said they had limited doc­u­men­ta­tion for the skele­tons, but that the peo­ple died in the 19th cen­tury and at least nine of them prob­a­bly were Khoi, who were cap­tured and forced to work as slaves on a farm in the North­ern Cape.

UCT se­nior lec­turer Dr Vic­to­ria Gib­bon said the re­mains were brought in by a per­son named CG Coet­zee of the Kruis­riv­ier farm in the 1920s.

“There are 11 re­mains and the nine we are fo­cus­ing on are from Suther­land.

“Eight of them come from one farm and they were brought here by the great grand­son of the orig­i­nal farm owner who did not live in the time they lived.

“They lived, worked and died on the farm and were laid to rest on the farm. For some rea­son in the 1920s he dug them up and brought them here,” Gib­bon said. She said she would start ex­am­in­ing the re­mains to be able to pro­vide a bi­o­log­i­cal re­port.

“We have not looked at them. We only met with the fam­i­lies a week ago on Oc­to­ber 1.

“The only in­for­ma­tion we have is from the per­son who brought them and we are not sure how ac­cu­rate it is.”

She said the re­mains con­sist of four male, two fe­male, two chil­dren and one un­known.

“In terms of cause of death the fam­ily was very in­ter­ested in that, and there is not a lot of in­for­ma­tion in the records but it sug­gests one was ill; chil­dren would have died of ill­ness around that time, so I would ar­gue that is why. One had tetanus, two were el­derly and one the records show they may have been killed.”

Sensa Mi­etas, a fam­ily rep­re­sen­ta­tive came along with her un­cle Al­fred Stu­ur­man and they both said they were happy to be part of the process to re­turn the re­mains. They said fam­i­lies would of­ten won­der about who their an­ces­tors were and where they came from.

“I think at this mo­ment we feel very happy and we are sat­is­fied that the re­mains have been found and that the right­ful fam­ily has been found,” Mi­etas said.

Agency (ANA) African News

UCT vice-chan­cel­lor Mamokgethi Phak­eng. | BHEKI RADEBE

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