All our heritage should be preserved and recorded

AS a trustee of the South End Museum I supported the move by the Khoi community to have the remains of David Stuurman returned to the place of his birth, somewhere close to the mouth of the Gamtoos River, which is in the Kouga municipal area and not in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipal area!

As a tourist guide I have also been involved in the Save Our City Campaign and heritage projects, and as such am a firm believer that all our heritage should be preserved and recorded.

Because of the furore surrounding statues at present, I am assuming the article by Hendrick Mphande, “Victoria must go, Khoi say” (April 1) is not an April Fools’ joke! If that is the case, then there are some serious historical mistakes made in the article by Christian Martin and Andre Goeda which need to be corrected: “In 1823 the convict ship Brampton reached Sydney and Stuurman was among the convicts forced to work for the Australian government for six years, Martin said.” At this stage there was no Australian government!

Sydney was part of New South Wales and it was a penal colony so the prisoners would not have been paid. Pedantic you may say, but let us have the correct facts! Martin goes on to say Stuurman’s wife wrote a petition to Queen Victoria for his release and that it didn’t take a genius to know Victoria endorsed this form of slavery when she never replied to pleas and petitions by Stuurman’s wife. All were in vain. David Stuurman arrived in Sydney in 1823. King George IV (1820 – 1830) was on the throne and the future Queen Victoria was only four years old in 1823! Born May 24 1819 died January 22 1901. It does not take a genius to work out that when Stuurman died in 1830 (the future queen was 11 years old), it was either King George IV or King William IV who was on the throne because we are not sure in which month Stuurman died! George IV died in June.

Martin says: “It does not take a genius to know Victoria supported this form of slavery.” King William IV reigned from 1830 to 1837 and Queen Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837!

Slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1834 (the future queen was 15 years old).

I would urge chief Gert Steenkamp, Martin and Goeda to spend a little more time on research.

-Mike Callaghan, Port Elizabeth

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