Keep Our Buried Heritage Sacred
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The local community of Garlandale Estate, Athlone, corner of Klipfontein Roads and the M5 Highway, Cape Town, South Africa, settled in this area allocated to them during the group areas act in the 1950's. Many of the residents in Garlandale were moved from the area called Black River, which was renamed Rondebosch by the Apartheid government. The community has recently objected against an exhumation of Black River cemetery which is a heritage burial ground. The burial ground was donated to the Anglican Diocese Church in 1880, when the country was under colonialist rule. It is close to 200 years old and the Church has made the decision to exhume approximately 3000 bodies and sell off the land for development without thoroughly informing the immediate surrounding community.
The cemetery has a long history. Proof of slave labourers being buried also exist and of burials before the land was donated to the Anglican Church. There are other people from the wider community of different denominations, if not cultures, also buried on this ground as there was the Spanish flu outbreak in 1918 and exceptions were made by the Church to bury others in masses because of the epidemic.
The site is regarded as a heritage site, if the community refuses to give permission then exhumation and development cannot go ahead.
The community feels that not enough has been done to inform them about what the Church had planned for this important burial ground. No direct notification was given to the immediate community of Garlandale & the extended community of Black River. They would like to keep the small cemetery as a sacred beacon of heritage & history in their community.
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