Money delays return of Koisan chief's remains

2014-04-26 10:30

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.

  • Nelia Liebenberg - 2014-04-26 10:48

    Don't suppose the Government has any money left to help after all the fat cats have been handed their share. Surely it is very important to bring the remains back to SA?

      John Loveland - 2014-04-26 11:49

      It doesn't cost that much to bring a body over from Australia. Their monuments will cost more than the trip. But it all comes down to priorities...

  • Marius Olivier - 2014-04-26 11:11

    Someone is looking for a paid holiday to Australia. Probably need to send at least 10 peopleto go and fetch a ghost.

  • WILLIAM H. - 2014-04-26 12:09

    Well just leave it there,use the money to feed live people!!!

  • George Slade - 2014-04-26 13:40

    Hell--did he emigrate that long ago ??

  • Tlou Maffod - 2014-04-26 13:52

    The London governmement must pay for that since its them who send him there.

  • Mlungisi Botha - 2014-04-26 15:30

    O shucks, what a big joke. If this was returning the bones of some Ugandan or Zimbabwean ancestor I would have understood. This is actually returning the bones of a South African, this African country with so much cash to throw around on In...and Gr....and Arm...etc etc and they cant afford what???? I blame the Khoisan community for lacking a strategy. They should have said to government, no bones no vote. Now the opportunity has slipped away. Alternatively, if the shipping requires so much money, then why not send them in the cargo hold of the next SAA flight from Aussie and prepare a grand military reception for them when they arrive at a South Africa airport? Surely that won't cost an arm and a leg? I think someone's wanting a few million rand so they can hire a company of a friend of a friend of a friend of a bring the bones over.

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