Written by Guest Writer Dimakatso Dibakwane
The Brakpan Museum Non- Profit Company (NPC) says it will be working towards ensuring that all historic cemeteries and burial grounds within the area are preserved and maintained, in order for future generations to know where they come from.
In commemorating the 43rd anniversary of Youth Day on Monday, June 17, the organisation led the residents of Brakpan on a cultural heritage tour, visiting neglected and unmarked graves and burial sites of the fallen heroes, in and around the town, for educational purposes.
The graves visited included the farm community ancestral graves, mine location graves, Anglo-Boer War concentration camp graves and victims of conflict memorial graves.
The tour also marked the beginning of the build-up to the Brakpan Centenary Celebrations, which will be in September.
Participants described the tour as successful and the most important. The tour organiser Vikinduku Mkhonza said: “We invited the residents on the trip and we visited many graves; the aim was to educate residents on where the neglected graves and their burial sites came from.”
“Many of the graves relatives who used to live in the old camps “izikomplasi” have since moved into township locations and the burial sites have been only left behind, with no one maintaining them. We therefore will be working towards calling on our government to intervene and assist in ensuring that these old historic cemeteries are not just left in the past, but do also get a chance to form part of the present and future,” Mkhonza further explained.
A participant from Kwa-Thema, Jabulani Nkosi, said that he had a lot to learn from taking the tour.
“Well, my participation on this tour was inspired by my eager to know my chronology. My grandfather was a Security guard at Emandl’ethu, between 1974 and 1982, however we didn’t really know where exactly he came from,” he said.
“So, I’m going to tell my family and the people in my neighborhood about this trip, I even took pictures as well, so I will also show them as evidence that I actually participated on this educational tour, this is actually a newly-discovered way to find out about where we came from,” Nkosi added.
The Brakpan Museum NPC said it is important that the grave sites are preserved.