The Rebecca Street Cemetery in Pretoria South Africa was on Wednesday the scene of an exhumation exercise.
The remains of 13 political posioners sentenced to death and hanged over 50 years ago were dug out so that they can be returned to their families.
“This is one step in the family coming to some sense that their particular journey is ending on the search for the remains. So we have very limited goals really around this. We say that we are not necessarily looking to heal, because it’s not for us to prescribe healing, but certainly many of the families feel that once they are able to bury the remains, they have done what they can to make right what was done wrong to their family,” said Madeleine Fullard, Head of Missing Persons Task Team.
The slain activists were members of the Pan Africanist Congress who fought against the apartheid regime. Among them were five members of one family
“Every movement has a responsibility to look after its own soldiers. And that responsibility, because the families give you their children for you to lead them. As you lead them, when they fall in the battle, you still have the responsibility to bring the remains back to their families. Now where your fighters are captured by the enemy, there will be no peace until their remains are returned to you. So this is the first step towards a lasting peace in this country,“said Philip Dlamini,President of the Pan Africanist Congress.
The Gallows exhumation project,was launched in March this year. A total of 130 political prisoners were hanged at the gallows between 1960 and 1990.