SAVE BLACK RIVER HERITAGE SITE
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Black River Heritage Site is a historical site of great importance to the Cape community and South Africa as it is the last remaining site with tangible evidence of the Black River area, the burial ground and the human remains which links the history of the people that originate from this area. The community that resided in the Black River area were forcibly removed by the Apartheid regime through the group areas act, the same as when their (the community's ) forbears who were enslaved by the colonialsts were also removed from their natural environment at Black River. Jan Van Riebeeck and the free burgher system removed the local Khoi people away from their main water source, also by force and brutal killings and planting hedges and placing fences and security to keep local away so that they (colonisers) could capitalise on the river source and land & its people. The site encompasses an era of oppression, from slavery, world wars 1 & 2, disease epidemic of 1918 where many children suffered and the apartheid regime.
The Anglican Church who was given this land by way of donation through colonialist power for use as a burial ground, refused to engage with the community when the community protested against the immoral act of removing their relatives from their graves without proper consent and public participation. Not only Anglicans were buried here. It was already in use as a burial ground before the site was donated to the this Church from England. In April 2017 a petition was started to stop the exhumations at this burial ground (See other petition linked to this user name). The Church launched an interdict to stop the protests, and warned the community they would get arrested if they further opposed. The community tried to stop the exhumation process by appealing through various heritage institutions, High Court and Human Rights commissions, with no real help from these institutions. The Church then carried on with exhumations despite the huge outcry from a big community of people. The exhumations were done haphazardly, not following procedure and very disrespectfully. Human remains were lifted with tractors, we witnessed how the bones were falling from the tractors digger claw. Remains were all scattered as a result, parts of humans remains were mixed up and some still lay at this site. The archeologists' and Church have provided no public reports on how they conducted the exhumations. We therefore cannot allow the Church to sell and develop on this piece of history. We will keep this sacred ground a Heritage Site.
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