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 Grave Robbing and destruction. in KwaZulu-Natal

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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Grave Robbing and destruction. in KwaZulu-Natal   Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:46 am

Wealthy local and overseas people are enticing poor South Africans to plunder battlefields and rob graves of artefacts, conference delegates were told in Dundee on Monday.

"They pay these people a pittance and the stolen artefacts invariably end up with dealers and command high prices," said Arthur Konigkramer, chairperson of Amafa KwaZulu-Natal, the provincial heritage body.

Although Amafa has contacted Scotland Yard and raised the matter with the British High Commissioner to get stolen artefacts back, "it seems the issue is either too sensitive or embarrassing, because no progress has been made", he said.

Addressing a conference held to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the Anglo-Zulu War, which was attended by a large contingent of overseas delegates, including military experts, Konigkramer said that while the desecration of battlefields was a global problem, it was particularly serious in KwaZulu-Natal.

Showing a series of photographs sent to Amafa of stolen artefacts that had been plundered from the site of the battle of Thukela Heights at Wynne Hill, he said it was clear they had been taken from the grave of a British soldier.

"Without wanting to reveal too much I can say that Amafa has gone to great lengths to have the guilty party charged. But a magistrate has refused to grant the police a search warrant to retrieve the stolen artefacts, and so we are unable to proceed at this stage because we do not have the physical evidence," Konigkramer added.

While many people have looted and desecrated the internationally famous site at Isandlwana, one man had done "much damage" while in the pay of wealthy individuals.

Chelmsford Ntanzi, who, ironically, was named after the famous general whose army was routed by superior fighting skill during the battle at Isandlwana, was eventually arrested.

"Amafa sought to stem the tide of plunder by employing Ntanzi after his release from prison, so that he had a steady income and could be watched," said Konigkramer.

"The plan worked."

Ntanzi had since died and Amafa now has his "fascinating diary, containing the names of a host of important people, most of them from outside South Africa, who Ntanzi supplied with artefacts looted from Isandlwana".

One Australian paid Ntanzi "a paltry R100 for medals removed from the battlefield".

Amafa plans to liaise with the Australian authorities regarding the theft.

Konigkramer said he and the director of Amafa, Barry Marshall, travelled to Britain to track down a "certain Bruce Crompton", said to have a collection of valuable artefacts looted from Isandlwana.

But even though Scotland Yard was called in, there was no prosecution.

"It appears that Britain is reluctant to prosecute its citizens for misdemeanours committed outside that country."

He added that Crompton had undertaken to donate the items to the Royal Regiment of Wales upon his death.

They will then be returned to Amafa.

Speaking in his personal capacity, he said that there was merit in organising a major archaeological survey of Isandlwana to remove all the artefacts which "would make plundering an exercise in futility".

There were some who believed Amafa made handsome profits from the battlefields that it administered, but this was untrue, said Konigkramer.

Isandlwana had a deficit of almost R280 000 in 2007/2008, which meant that each of the 15 600 visitors was subsidised to the tune of R18, he said.

The situation at Rorkes Drift and Spioenkop, where maintenance costs were lower, was slightly better, "but they still do not generate profits".

"Cultural tourism and visitors to the battlefields make up some 22 percent of the tourism industry. This niche market is clearly a significant contributor to our economy," he said.

"Part of the problem is that our tourism marketing effort is not properly co-ordinated," he claimed.

"Three bodies, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, Durban Tourism and Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal, are essentially doing their own thing, while the private sector paddles its own canoe."

Konigkramer said it would make sense to pool all these resources under one roof in a not-for-gain company.


This article was originally published on page 2 of Daily News on January 20, 2009

S.D
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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Came Across this. A war grave has been found open.   Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:10 pm

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A war grave has been found open in the vicinity of the Isandlwana battlefield.
Andy West, of Durban, who has been visiting the Zulu war battle sites for 30 years, said he discovered the isolated open grave near the site of Anstey's last stand.
"There is a group of seven cairns and one cairn is in some bushes furthest from a river bank. It had been dug out about 1,5 metres by 85cm and about 40cm deep," said Andy who was in Dundee shortly after New Year.
He added that he did drop soil into the grave but not enough to fill it as the soil had been removed.
"Unfortunately I could not do more as it was already 3pm and I had to get back before the gates were locked at the exit." He said due to the remoteness of the area, he is sure that this is an isolated incident, but should be cause for concern.
"Those looking after the battlefields have done excellent work in rehabilitating and demarcating the cairns on the battle site and along the fugitives' trail.
It is certainly in the most pristine condition that I can ever recall and that's thanks to those who do this commendable work on such difficult terrain."

Posted by Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal Courier, Dundee at 3:13 AM

Whats your comments on this.
S.D
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PostSubject: Re: Grave Robbing and destruction. in KwaZulu-Natal   Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:44 am

I expect this sort of thing has been going on for many years, the problem is when you have the wealthy taking advantage of the poor, Historic sites like Isandlwana will be plundered for what ever artifacts are left.

Items left on or just below the surface have long been taken , now they need to dig deeper or in some cases as S.D as shown breaking open graves.

I think the only way to stop this is by publicly announcing that the graves at Isandlwana will be exhumed, and all artifacts removed and place in a museum, and the remains of the braves Soilders from both sides buried deeper.

Take away the temptation and the Historic site of Isandlwana will be left in peace.


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PostSubject: Re: Grave Robbing and destruction. in KwaZulu-Natal   Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:57 pm

From last year but still on topic.

sas1

MEDIA RELEASE FROM AMAFA HERITAGE KWAZULU-NATAL

13th August, 2008

The dramatic memorial to fallen Zulu warriors at Isandlwana that lies at the entrance to this most visited battlefield in KwaZulu-Natal has become the latest victim of metal thieves.
“Because of increased prices for scrap metal we believe it was targeted because two bronze thorns from the isiQu (bravery necklace) were sawn off,” said James van Vuuren, Deputy Director of Amafa, the provincial heritage body and the site’s custodian.
‘We will obviously have to restore it but it is a tragedy a memorial of such significance to the Zulu people and the country has been vandalised. We are now worried about other memorials: apart from their heritage value, these are important components of the provincial tourism offering.
“Isandlwana was fought on January 22, 1879 between the Zulu army and the British and Colonial forces camped there at the beginning of the Zulu War. It was a decisive Zulu victory which reverberated around the world. Today the battlefield and its memorials draw thousands of local and international visitors.
“Up until democracy there was no adequate memorial to the Zulu dead, though there were many to the opposing forces. To redress this, Amafa commissioned Pietermaritzburg sculptor Gert Swart to design one and it was unveiled by King Goodwill Zwelithini on the 120th anniversary of the battle. Many Amakhosi and their constituencies helped with cash or cattle towards the cost.
“It consists of a circular concrete platform symbolising the traditional Zulu homestead. Four bronze headrests reinforce the idea of final rest, while the bronze necklace of thorns echoes the bravery necklace given by the King.
“It also suggests izimpondo zenkomo, the horns of the bull, the encircling tactics perfected by King Shaka and used with such skill and precision at Isandlwana.
“The battlefield has a cattle fence but no security barrier as we didn’t expect this to happen. We will have to look at more protective measures,” van Vuuren said.
“We’re appealing to scrap metal dealers to report to us if they are offered these distinctive pieces for sale, and are offering a reward for information leading to a conviction.”

Note: Isandlwana in northern KZN near Nqutu is protected by provincial heritage legislation and open daily. (R20 entrance fee) The adjacent museum has recently been renovated with new displays and artefacts that evoke the famous battle and tell the story. There is also a new memorial to the Zulu dead at Rorke’s Drift, fought the day after Isandlwana. Designed by KZN sculptor Peter Hall this shows a leopard resting on a pile of shields, symbolising vigilance over the many who died in defence of the Zulu Kingdom.

Further inquiries: James van Vuuren: 082 499 3531

Caption to Zulu memorial at Isandlwana pic
The Zulu memorial at Isandlwana, KZN’s most visited battlefield, before metal thieves stole two of the bronze “thorns”.
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PostSubject: Issued by: Office of the Premier, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government 3 March 2009   Sun Mar 15, 2009 1:17 pm

Media statement by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sibusiso Ndebele on the desecration of the grave of Maqhamusela Khanyile
3 March 2009

It is with shock and horror that I have been informed that the grave of Maqhamusela Khanyile, the first Zulu Christian Martyr who was killed by his peers on 9 March 1877, has been desecrated.

What is even more disturbing is that a high-ranking official from Northern KwaZulu-Natal has been directly implicated for the vandalising of this heritage site.

Police are investigating allegations that, on or about 14 February 2009, the grave was desecrated by a high ranking official from the Uthungulu District Municipality. This grave, which was erected in 2007, falls under the ambit of the KwaZulu-Natal Heritage Act.

This act of cowardice is testament that even the dead cannot be laid to rest in dignity. What could, possibly, be the motive for this act of vandalism?

Among those who reported the matter to the Office of the Premier, some in tears at the site of the desecration, are the local traditional leadership as well as members and the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Secretary of the Diocese, Reverend TS Khathi, was duly informed by the Circuit Manager Reverend Mthethwa.

This is the latest in several acts of this kind of vandalism reported to our government.

In 2001, a building contractor was prosecuted in St Lucia for damage to a pre-historic midden (archaeological discovery) on the Eastern Shores of Lake St Lucia, which is also a world heritage site.

Last year in Isandlwana in Rorkes Drift some metal medals were removed and sold for commercial gain.

The Mahatma Gandhi statue in Pietermaritzburg was also vandalised last year.

These acts are a violation of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution as well as the recently passed Heritage Act.

I have instructed the Director-General of the province, Dr Kwazi Mbanjwa, to work with the law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrator/s to book as a matter of urgency. We will leave no stone unturned until those responsible for this criminal act face the consequences for their actions.

On 11 March 2007 the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government was joined by the Eastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa, to commemorate 130 years since the death of Maqhamusela Khanyile.

A delegation from Norway, where the missionaries who had Christianised Maqhamusela Khanyile, among them Ormond Oftebro, had come from, was also present. This grave is therefore of international importance. A desecration of this nature will put South Africa's proud record of heritage conservation in jeopardy. The grave is one of several heritage initiatives that the provincial government has undertaken over the past five years.

Maqhamusela Khanyile had been an active member of the Zulu armies. However, upon hearing the teachings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Eshowe, he became Christianised and forsook the life of warriorship. This angered his peers who then killed him.

According to the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Heritage Act, No 4 of 2008:

Section 35 of the act further prohibits any person from altering, damaging, exhuming or removing from its original position any other grave not protected by this act and also not located in a formal cemetery managed by a local authority without the prior approval of the council.

The National Heritage Resources Act, 1999

Section 36(3)(a) prohibits any person from destroying, damaging, altering, exhuming, or removing from its original position or otherwise disturb the grave of the victim of conflict, or any burial ground or part thereof which contains such graves.

Enquiries:
Logan Maistry
Cell: 083 644 4050

Issued by: Office of the Premier, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government
3 March 2009
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PostSubject: Re: Grave Robbing and destruction. in KwaZulu-Natal   Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:51 am

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