Money delays return of Koisan chief's remains

2014-04-26 10:30
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Johannesburg - Plans to repatriate the remains of a 240-year-old Khoisan chief from Sydney, Australia, have been postponed to secure funding.

"We are grateful for the understanding of the National Khoi and San Council that the spiritual repatriation of [David] Stuurman should be postponed to a later date," National Heritage Council (NHC) CEO Sonwabile Mancotywa said in a statement on Friday.

Mancotywa reportedly addressed representatives of the Khoi and San at the South End Museum in Port Elizabeth on Friday to give an update of the project.

The NHC had expected the return of Stuurman's remains in April, when the country celebrates its 20 years of democracy on 27 April.

NHC spokesperson Danny Goulkan said an agreement was reached by the committee in charge of the process to allow for further fundraising.

The details of the repatriation would be refined and adjusted to fit the available resources, he said.

The committee consists of the National Khoi and San Council, researchers, the department of arts and culture, government entities in heritage and international relations, and is facilitated by the NHC.

Goulkan said the funding required for the project would also be used to build monuments in South Africa and Australia. He said it was agreed that the repatriation could only happen after the 7 May elections.

In March, Goulkan said Stuurman was one of the few known people who successfully escaped more than once from Robben Island.

He said the chief was incarcerated there for his persistent fight against colonialism around 1808 and 1809.

Stuurman died in the General Hospital in Sydney in 1830 after travelling to the continent on a convict ship.

- SAPA

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