23 C
Mossel Bay
1st December 2023
Arts & Culture

Reburial Program – a Historic Moment for the Khoe People

On the 5thof July, the Great Brak River Museum remained open from 7.00 am until 7.00 am on the 6th (24 hours). During this time, the Khoe people observed a twenty-four-hour wake. This was part of a reburial program, instituted by the Department of Culture and Sport. Taking part were the Khoe people, the three major museums in the area, Dias Museum Mossel Bay, Great Brak River Museum and George Museum. During the ceremony the two-thousand-year-old Khoe remains and those held by the sister museums were jointly reburied.

All were invited to come and observe the reburial ceremony. On the 6th July, the remains were transported from the Great Brak Museum to the George Museum, where they stayed until the 11thof July, where a similar ceremony was held. On the 12thof July the Khoe community walked to the grave of Captain Dikkop in Pacaltsdorp, originally Hoogekraal, where the reburial of the remains held by the various museums, took place.

The mission station, Pacaltsdorp, was established in 1813. Captain Dikkop, who lies buried outside of the church graveyard, was the local Khoe leader. Following Captain Dikkop’s death, nobody was appointed to succeed him. Despite all the efforts of KapteinDikkop to spread the gospel amongst his followers, he was buried outside the mission’s burial ground about 100 metres from the historic church. The reason was apparently that he had never converted to Christianity.

The Khoikhoi were the first occupants of Hoogekraal (one of the early migration areas), now known as Pacaltsdorp. During 1812, Reverend Read and ReverendWinner from the London Missionary Society visited Hoogekraal. Chief Dikkop, chiefof the Khoikhoi, was so impressed with the missionaries’ work that he requestedseveral times for a missionary to come live and work with the people. In February1813, the good news came that Reverend Pacalt would come to Hoogekraal. On hisown initiative, Chief Dikkop personally went to Zuurbraak (near Swellendam) by ox-wagonand transported the first resident missionary, Reverend Charles Pacalt toHoogekraal. The journey took Chief Dikkop four weeks to complete.

You may well ask who the Khoe were.More than 2000-2400 years ago, long before Dias visited the southern Africanshores, there were hunter-gatherers who had acquireddomestic stock (mainly Fat tailed sheep and Nguni cattle) in what is now modern-dayBotswana and moved to the southern cape. They were the first pastoralists insouthern Africa, and called themselves Khoikhoi (or Khoe), which means ‘men ofmen’ or ‘the real people’. This name was chosen to show pride in their past andculture. The Khoikhoi brought a new way of life to South Africa and to the existingSan, who were hunter-gatherers as opposed to herders.

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