The Cabinet has adopted a policy to have the human remains of South Africans abroad to be repatriated, reports MedicalBrief. Arts & Culture Department officials briefed MPs last week on the policy on the management of human remains and heritage objects in museums.
Minister Nathi Mthethwa said that it should also honour those who suffered for the country’s freedom from outside its borders. An EWN report notes that the department said the policy would help humanise South Africans who were used for racial research abroad, like Saartjie Baartman, whose remains were repatriated in 2002.
The department’s Vusithemba Ndima said that the policy would not only cover South Africans who died abroad but would also focus on heritage objects that had been stolen from the country.
However, Mthethwa said not all mortal remains would be able to be repatriated, for a number of practical reasons. The department said that the government was inundated with requests to repatriate human remains kept in museums as well as the remains of South Africans in other countries. It said that in the absence of any policy guidelines, these requests have had to be dealt with on an ad hoc basis.
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