Letter in Support of the Tana Baru Cemetery – a sacred site

Letter to the Editor, Cape Times

11 June 2018

Respect for spiritual traditions and spiritual authority is not something our society is particularly good at, but it is never too late to change.

Cape Town Interfaith Initiative (CTII) stands firmly with Bo-Kaap residents, the Tana Baru Trust and the Jewish Board of Deputies, all of whom have in our opinion put forward morally and ethically sound cases for the preservation of the sanctity of the Tana Baru Cemetery in the Bo- Kaap.

We call on all commercial business to recognise that the moral imperative to consider the traditional, cultural and historical interests of a community goes beyond land ownership. The impact on homes and lives cannot be lightly discarded, neither can it always be measured in monetary terms.

CTII is committed to the protection and preservation of the Sacred as it is perceived and represented in any of the faith communities of our City. We consider this a human right and a social responsibility: dignity, respect and compassion are hallmarks of a healthy, truly sustainable society.

We urge that this particular burial site, given its historic status and spiritual significance, should be preserved as a national heritage site and that all future developments involving places of cultural importance should be carefully and transparently considered in a forum involving not only financial stakeholders, but also those representing the spiritual authority of the affected communities.

Berry Behr