Minister Mthethwa pays a special visit to Russia to expedite the repatriation process of Moses Kotane and JB Marks remains

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22 Oct 2014

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, is on a six day official visit to the City of Moscow, Russia to facilitate the repatriations of the remains of struggle stalwarts, Moses Kotane and JB Marks. The discussions will also include cooperation on other areas of arts and culture that will culminate in the South Africa/Russia Cultural Seasons, a programme of arts and culture exchange between the two countries. He will return to the country on Sunday, 26 October.

The President of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma tasked the Department of Arts & Culture in February 2014 to lead and coordinate preparations to return the remains of Communist Party of SA stalwart, Moses Kotane to the country. This follows a special request to President Zuma by the widow of late Moses Kotane. The family of late JB Marks also approached the Department regarding the return of the remains of JB Marks.

The repatriations are part of the Department’s National Legacy Projects which highlights and celebrates the role of all South Africans who contributed in the liberation of this country.

“The repatriation of these stalwarts, Moses Kotane and JB Marks is part of the ongoing program to tell our own stories and celebrate the lives of some of our heroes. We hope that their return to home soil will contribute to the healing of wounds, deepen understanding of where we come from and create inter-generational discourse that will see us connect the past, present and future.

“These two men can rightly be considered the founding fathers of the liberation struggle who inspired the likes of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu, among others to become the selfless leaders that they turned out to be in life.

“Thus their return will go a long way to ensure that their ideas, philosophies and vision is preserved and promoted to help us move our country forward,” said Mthethwa.

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and its associated institutions, the National Heritage Council (NHC), South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) and Freedom Park are working together in facilitating the repatriation process.

The Government of South Africa and the Government of the Russian Federation signed an agreement on cooperation in the fields of arts and culture on 29 April 1999 in Moscow and the agreement was ratified in 2008. Also, at the BRICS Summit which was held in South Africa in 2013, the two countries signed a Programme of Action in areas of collaboration such as Museums, Libraries, Libraries, Performing Arts and Film.

Thus during his official visit, the Minister will also engage the arts sector in Russia to encourage cooperation and exchange of knowledge, experience and achievements in the field of culture.

Enquiries       : Sandile Memela: 082 800 3750 or email: