City’s old­est ceme­tery to be re-ded­i­cated

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - PATSY BEANGSTROM NEWS EDITOR

THE RE­HA­BIL­I­TATED Du­toitspan Ceme­tery in Kim­ber­ley will be re-ded­i­cated on Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 26, to co­in­cide with Her­itage Month.

Spokesper­son for Kim­ber­ley Ekapa Mining Joint Ven­ture (KEM-JV), Gert Klop­per, pointed out yes­ter­day that the Du­toitspan Ceme­tery, some­times er­ro­neously re­ferred to as the “Chi­nese ceme­tery”, was Kim­ber­ley’s old­est of­fi­cial ceme­tery.

“It is likely though that there might be older in­di­vid­ual graves, or pos­si­bly clus­ters of graves, which are now long gone from mem­ory and sight.”

Klop­per added that the con­di­tion of the ceme­tery had, over the years, de­te­ri­o­rated and “it had reached a gen­eral state of dis­re­pair that is not in­dica­tive of the his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of this site”.

“Signs of van­dal­ism and des­e­cra­tion of graves was wide­spread through­out the ceme­tery and with the re­cent 2017 rains it be­came over­grown with trees, shrubs and grass, sev­eral be­ing in­va­sive.”

As the ceme­tery is si­t­u­ated within the mining right area of KEM-JV, the com­pany ini­ti­ated a project of clean­ing and ren­o­vat­ing the ceme­tery.

“This project, which started at the be­gin­ning of June 2017, serves as the com­pany’s way of hav­ing a voice for those who are long gone and who made a huge con­tri­bu­tion dur­ing their time of liv­ing in the Kim­ber­ley area.”

KEM-JV is the joint ven­ture ini­tia­tive that con­sists of the com­bined work­ings of the un­der­ground mine pur­chased by Pe­tra Di­a­monds and the treat­ment of the Tail­ings Min­eral Re­sources that Pe­tra Di­a­monds ac­quired from De Beers in part­ner­ship with Ekapa Mining dur­ing 2016.

“The re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Du­toitspan Ceme­tery has now been com­pleted, and a re-ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony is be­ing planned for Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 26.”

Ac­cord­ing to Steve Lun­der­st­edt in Kim­ber­ley Calls and Re­calls, the first of­fi­cial ceme­ter­ies in Kim­ber­ley were Du­toitspan (whites, coloured and In­di­ans) and Bult­fontein (blacks) ceme­ter­ies. The Du­toitspan Ceme­tery dates from 1870 – the first in­ter­ment.

Sev­eral prom­i­nent Kim­ber­ley peo­ple are buried in the ceme­tery in­clud­ing Neville Pick­er­ing, his brother Wil­liam Pick­er­ing (DBCM sec­re­tary and director), Ethel Pick­er­ing (who fired the first shell from Long Ce­cil), Lt-Colonel Thomas Peak­man, EF Mor­ris (the first mem­ber of the Di­a­mond Fields Horse to be buried in the ceme­tery), Henry Al­fred Ward (the first owner of the Wes­sel­ton mine), the Mag­is­trate Kear­ney Brad­shaw (who died af­ter his horse fell on him), and Dr Pa­trick Gra­ham (one of the ear­li­est med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers).

Sis­ter Hen­ri­etta Stock­dale was also in­terred here be­fore rein­ter­ment at the Angli­can Cathe­dral.

Some of those who died dur­ing the siege of Kim­ber­ley are also buried here, while mem­bers of the Cape Corps who died from the Span­ish flu in 1918 have their own spe­cial area. Also within the bound­aries of the ceme­tery are a walled Moslem sec­tion and an en­closed Jewish burial area.

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