Today, while encouraging social distancing at the reduced gathering, Minister Anroux Marais was honoured to symbolically hand over human remains from the CP Nel Museum to the Oudtshoorn community for a dignified and respectful burial.
At the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport we are committed to realising our vision of a socially inclusive Western Cape for all who calls it home. In line with this vision, we launched our Human Remains Reburial Programme in George in June 2018. This much needed programme is a series of reburials of human remains that are in museums affiliated to the Department. This symbolic handover serves to return human remains held at CP Nel Museum for a dignified reburial. We are now regulating our museums by handing over the remains to community representatives to be buried with dignity.
At the symbolic ceremony, Minister Marais said, “I am pleased to note that our Department has facilitated the involvement of interested community groups, the Municipality of Oudtshoorn and Oudtshoorn High School and together we commence the first phase of this very significant process today. We fully understand that the sacred burial requires the performance of rituals in museums and that reinternment must be seen as a process, rather than an event. Therefore, phase one requires us to symbolically hand over the remains to the community of Oudtshoorn with the utmost respect today. Phase 2 has been scheduled for 4 April 2020 for the burial ceremony to take place. The proceedings of the reburial ceremony will be conducted by the community/traditional chiefs, leaders and representatives from the various Khoi-San traditional houses/tribes from the Oudtshoorn area according to cultural protocols and prescripts”.
These developments will indeed assist the Western Cape Government in building the social inclusivity we continue to strive towards through healing and the recognition of all cultures in the Western Cape. We take this opportunity to thank all those who had a hand in the success of this symbolic handover and the coming programme of reburial. We appreciate the series of consultative meetings held between the Museum Board of Trustees, the Museum Manager together with community stakeholders, the Oudtshoorn Municipality’s Head of Cemetery Management Recreation & Parks: Ms Zouwe Lesia, Oudtshoorn High School’s Principal and the School Governing Body, Mr. Kumresh Chetty: our departmental Human Remains Reburial Facilitator and Mr. Michael Janse van Rensburg, our Deputy Director for Museum Services. The collaborative input does not go unnoticed and we wholeheartedly thank you for your contribution to our Human Remains Reburial Programme.