Cape Town - The construction of a memorial site for 12 Robben Island political prisoners began on Wednesday at Stikland Cemetery, Cape Town city officials said.
Mayoral committee member Tandeka Gqada said the prisoners were buried there in unmarked graves in the 1960s.
“We will soon have a memorial site to remember and to recognise the dedication to a free South Africa of Messrs Simon, Langben, Kula, Mani, Maliwa, Khalipha, Mvalwana, Mqalu, Poni, Makisi, Batyi, and Mkele,” she said.
“This decision comes after extensive consultation with the Robben Island Museum and families of the prisoners.”
Gqada said the city was pleased to honour the sacrifices made by the struggle veterans.
Some relatives of the dead prisoners had come forward in previous years, asking for the remains to be exhumed so they could be re-buried in their homelands. Three previous attempts had proved unsuccessful.
“In consultation with relevant parties, particularly the families of the prisoners, it was decided that the burial area will be landscaped and a memorial would be erected that will serve to restore the dignity of the men and provide closure to their families,” Gqada said.
City Parks agreed no further burials would take place in the section where the prisoners were to be buried. - Sapa