Rustenburg slave memorial ground

06 December 2010

Rustenburg slave memorial groundOur Cape slavery heritage will be marked by the memorialisation of the Rustenburg slave burial site on middle campus, through an area for reflection and an exhibition room on the corner of the School of Economics building.

Not only does UCT share physical connections to historical slavery sites of memory (the university incorporates the site of the Driekoppen execution of three slaves in the 18th century, and Hiddingh campus incorporates the known site of a slave lock-up hold); it also has a historical relationship with the descendants of Cape slaves. Most notable of course is Cissy Gool, who was the first black woman to attain a UCT Law degree; and Harold Cressy, who was the first black person to graduate from UCT.

No relics - other than pieces of the old graveyard wall - were found during the extensive excavation undertaken by the university's Department of Archaeology. In 2007 UCT launched a Public Participation Process for the burial ground. Open forums were held, with invitations to comment. The space is still to be equipped and managed; a process which will be overseen by deputy vice-chancellor Professor Crain Soudien.

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