The Welsh mountains where a skeleton of a man with possible links to Durban was found in 1979.
The Welsh mountains where a skeleton of a man with possible links to Durban was found in 1979.

40-year-old mystery of a skeleton found in the Welsh mountains... and the link to Durban

By Tanya Waterworth Time of article published May 15, 2021

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Durban - A request for help to solve a 40-year-old mystery landed in the Independent on Saturday’s email this week asking if our readers can shed any light on the skeletal remains of a man ‒ possibly with a Durban connection ‒ found in the Welsh mountains in 1979.

Locate International, a UK-based organisation which investigates missing persons and unidentified bodies, including many cold cases, said that clues pointing to a South African connection were found with the man's remains.

The information shared by Locate International said that in December 1979, the skeletal remains of a man were found on the mountainside near Resolven, South Wales, United Kingdom.

“He has not yet been identified and therefore his family cannot be notified.

“The man is believed to have been born between the World Wars and was therefore aged between 40 and 60 at the time of his death. He was white with short grey hair, and of stocky build. He would have walked with a limp as his right leg was fused at the knee and he would not have been able to bend it,” said the organisation.

And there were a couple of clues with the man’s remains, including some notes scribbled on an airline timetable, a bookmark and a Salvation Testament with the name D Malan written on the flyleaf.

Locate International said: “Several items were found with the man. Although no return ticket was traced, he had British Airways timetables for 1978. On one were handwritten notes indicating that he was planning a return flight from London to Johannesburg and then an onward internal flight to Durban.

“He also had a Salvation Testament with the name ‘D Malan’ and the address PO Box Randburg, Johannesburg, South Africa on the flyleaf. Enquiries in the Randburg area have drawn a blank.

“A commemorative bookmark for a Christian mission conducted in King William’s Town by ’Rhodes Varsity Trekkers’ which was held at Easter (April 9 -17) 1960 was also found.”

The organisation said they were appealing to anyone who may remember a friend, colleague, neighbour or church member who went to the United Kingdom, specifically Wales, in 1978 or 1979 and who was never seen again.

The Independent on Saturday made enquiries with Rhodes University which checked its records and advised that only two people by the name of D Malan were registered at the university around that time: the first in 1964 (born December 22, 1946) and the second in 1966 (born on August 20, 1944). These dates do not correlate with a possible Christian mission to King William’s Town by 1960 Rhodes Varsity Trekkers.

There was also no mention of Rhodes Varsity Trekkers in the university’s 1960 calendar, nor in the library archives.

Anyone with information can email [email protected] or can email Locate International directly on [email protected]

The Independent on Saturday

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