Repatriation of an Egyptian mummy, Peten-Amun, from Durban Natural Science Museum in eThekwini to go ahead in 2022
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DURBAN - The repatriation of the Egyptian mummy, Peten-Amun, on display at the Durban Natural Science Museum could take place in 2022.
This was revealed by eThekwini Municipality’s Director of Durban Natural Science Allison Ruiters during the meeting with the speaker of the Municipality Councillor Weziwe Thusi and the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to South Africa, His Excellency Ahmed Taher Elfadly, at City Hall on Wednesday.
Egypt had started a process of collecting mummies that were taken out their country. According to the Egyptian Society of South Africa, there are three recorded ancient Egyptian mummies in South Africa. One is preserved in the Albany Museum in Grahamstown, another in the National Cultural History Museum in Pretoria. The third is in the Durban Natural Science Museum.
Ruiters recounted the history of the mummy’s journey on how it found its way to our shores.
“The mummy was first discovered in the museums inventory during the move from the Old Town Hall (now Post Office) to the City Hall in 1910 with an undated label titled ’Captain Myers’ found attached to it, ” she said.
“Upon investigation it was found that Major William Joseph Myers was a British soldier who arrived in Durban to fight in the Anglo-Boer war but was killed 4 days after his arrival. In the absence of further information and the mystery surrounding it, the arrival and presence of the mummy in Durban was ruled as a result of direct colonialism,” said Ruiters.
Ahmed Taher Elfadly, appreciated the Municipality’s effort to repatriate the artefact.
“In doing this, we are not only addressing atrocities of the past but we are strengthening the relationship between our two nations.”
He said the mummy brought an educational factor where members of the public were able to view it through a glass display.
“The removal of the mummy has caused some public dissatisfaction. We must consider having an exhibition with replicas that closely resemble the relic and incorporate Durban on the roadshows.”
Logistics and administrative planning around the repatriation of the mummy are in progress. Repatriation is expected to take place before the end of the first quarter of 2022. The municipality is currently investigating the appropriate channels which will be used to transport the mummy back to Egypt.
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