18 May 2014

South Africa: U.S. to Repatriate Nakasa's Remains

Johannesburg — A bid has been launched in the US Supreme Court to have the remains of iconic South African writer Nat Nakasa repatriated to his homeland, the Sunday Times reported. His sister, Gladys Maphumulo, 73, told the newspaper that his possible return would ease the pain of his loss.

"It was painful to the family that we didn't get to bury him. But now there are efforts to bring his remains back home, we hope our pain will be healed when we rebury him," she told the newspaper.Nakasa, a journalist and writer of short stories, committed suicide by jumping out of a building in New York in 1965. He was 28.

The department of arts and culture and a group of journalists have been involved in the repatriation bid. The department has appointed an American legal firm to work on the matter.The department's head of books and publishing, Siphiwo Mahala, said it was awaiting the court's decision on whether it could exhume and repatriate his body.

Nakasa is buried in Ferncliff Cemetery outside New York. If the repatriation bid is successful, he will be reburied at the Heroes' Acre in Chesterville, Durban, where he spent his childhood.Nakasa, a prolific young black voice who exposed the devastation of apartheid in his writings, was forced to leave South Africa on an exit visa when the apartheid government refused to grant him a passport after he was awarded a Nieman fellowship at Harvard University.He is believed to have become depressed through homesickness and a sense of isolation.

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