Khoi-San outraged by defacing of Sarah Baartman memorial

APRIL 28, 2015

Khoi-San leaders have reportedly been outraged by the desecration of the memorial site and grave of Sarah Baartman in Hankey. White paint was splashed on the site on Saturday.

Baartman was reburied near her birthplace in Hankey's Gamtoos Valley almost 13 years ago, after her remains had been returned from Europe. The Khoi-San community performed rituals at the site and burnt incense to cleanse the grave site.

Following Saturday's incident, Khoi-San Chief, Daantjie Japhta, told the SABC that they are disappointed and disgusted by what happed to the statue, "because we believe this statue brought us dignity. People want to plunge the country into a divide. The writing up on South Africa's coat of arms (in Khoi-San) means unity in diversity."

Eastern Cape police are still searching for those responsible for defacing the memorial site.

Community members claim to have seen a group of people throwing white paint over the plaque on Saturday.

The Eastern Cape Department of Arts and Culture has also condemned the act.

The defacing of the Sarah Baartman Memorial is the latest incident of attacks on colonial and historical statues which followed a campaign that saw the statue of Cecil John Rhodes being removed from the University of Cape Town campus.

A number of statues across the Eastern Cape, including the Anglo Boer War Memorial in Uitenhage; the Horse Memorial and the Queen Victoria statue in Port Elizabeth; the Hexagon Memorial in Queenstown and the Anglo Boer War statue in East London, have been vandalised amid calls for the removal of colonial and apartheid era statues by some sectors of the society.

--- additional reporting SABC.