After an archiving audit of the UCT Human Skeletal Collection in 2017, the university discovered that it had 11 skeletons in its collection that were unethically obtained by the institution in the 1920s. The university has acknowledged this past injustice, which forms part of its history. Nine of these individuals were brought to the university in the 1920s from Sutherland in the Northern Cape.
UCT is working with the community of Sutherland to return the remains of these nine individuals to their descendants. An interdisciplinary team of academics from UCT and two international partner institutions have conducted unprecedented scientific studies. This process has enabled the university to provide redress and restitution.
The process – led by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Transformation, Professor Loretta Feris and the Office for Inclusivity and Change – is ongoing.
Facial images produced by Face Lab at Liverpool John Moores University, supported by National Geographic Society.
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