Fishery patrol boats named update
Mar 15, 2004
The four sea fishery patrol vessels currently under construction in the Ukraine (by Dutch builder Damen) and at Cape Town’s Far Ocean shipyard are nearing completion.
The first vessel is expected to become available in October and will be named Lillian Ngoyi, former president of the South African Federation of Women and a leading anti-apartheid activist.
The minister of environmental affairs and tourism, Valli Moosa has announced the other ships will be named after Ruth First, Victoria Mxenge and Sarah Baartman.
Ruth First was a member of the then banned communist party and an activist who went into exile in Maputo where she was assassinated by means of a letter bomb on 17 August, 1982.
Victoria Mxenge, a nurse who subsequently trained as and was admitted as an attorney became active in anti-apartheid circles following the murder of her activist lawyer husband Griffiths Mxenge. She was a prominent member of the legal team preparing to defend the United Democratic Front and the Natal Indian Congress during the treason trial in the Pietermaritzburg Supreme Court. In 1985, before the trial took place Victoria Mxenge was brutally murdered, an act that led to much criticism of the apartheid system including condemnation from President Ronald Reagan of the United States.
The remaining ship will be named after Sarah Baartman, a Khoisan women who was taken to England in the early 19th century where she was exhibited as a living freak, for so-called ‘scientific purposes’ on account of her unusual anatomy. She died in France in 1815 and parts of her remains were pickled and placed on exhibit in bottles at the Musee de l’Hommein Paris, where they remained on public view until 1974.
Following South Africa’s President Mandela appeal for her remains to be returned home for decent burial, it took the French government a further nine years to pass a bill that appears to be aimed at preventing other countries from reclaiming valued treasures or other items removed in former days to France.
Sarah Baartman’s remains were returned to South Africa for burial in January 2002.