Repatriation of an Egyptian mummy, Peten-Amun, from the Durban Museum of Natural Sciences to eThekwini in 2022

DURBAN – The repatriation of the Egyptian mummy Peten-Amun on display at the Durban Museum of Natural Sciences could take place in 2022.

This was revealed by the Durban Director of Natural Sciences of eThekwini Municipality, Allison Ruiters, during the meeting with the Chairman of City Councilor Weziwe Thusi and the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to South Africa, His Excellency Ahmed Taher Elfadly, at the town hall on Wednesday.

Egypt had started a process of collecting mummies which were taken from their country. According to the Egyptian Society of South Africa, there are three ancient Egyptian mummies recorded in South Africa. One is kept at the Albany Museum in Grahamstown, another at the National Cultural History Museum in Pretoria. The third is at the Durban Museum of Natural Sciences.

Durban Museum of Natural Sciences. I PROVIDED

Ruiters told the story of the mummy’s journey of how she found her way to our shores.

“The mummy was first discovered in the museum’s inventory when the old town hall (now post office) was moved to the town hall in 1910 with an undated label titled” Captain Myers “found attached,” she said.

“Upon investigation it was discovered that Major William Joseph Myers was a British soldier who arrived in Durban to fight in the Anglo-Boer War but was killed 4 days after his arrival. In the absence of additional information and the mystery surrounding it, the arrival and presence of the mummy in Durban was governed by direct colonialism, ”said Ruiters.

Ahmed Taher Elfadly, appreciated the efforts of the municipality to repatriate the artefact.

“By doing this, we are not only tackling the atrocities of the past, but we are strengthening the relationship between our two nations. “

Allison Ruiters, Durban Director of Natural Sciences of eThekwini Municipality, President of City Councilor Weziwe Thusi and Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to South Africa Ahmed Taher Elfadly at the museum. Photo: Eric Apelgren

He said the mummy brought an educational factor where members of the public could see it through a display case.

“The removal of the mummy has caused some public discontent. We need to consider having an exhibit with replicas that closely resemble the relic and incorporate Durban into the tours.

Logistical and administrative planning around the repatriation of the mummy is underway. The repatriation is expected to take place before the end of the first quarter of 2022. The municipality is currently studying the appropriate channels that will be used to bring the mummy back to Egypt.

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