A large number of gravestones at the Jewish cemetery in Oudtshoorn, Western Cape, South Africa, were vandalized last week, the Oudtshoorn Courant reported Tuesday (Vandale teiken begraafplaas).
The Western Cape is a province on the south-western coast of of South Africa. It is the country’s fourth largest province with an estimated population of 7 million, about two-thirds of whom live in metropolitan Cape Town. 49% of the people of the Western Cape describe themselves as “Colored,” 33% “Black African,” 17% “White,” and 1% as “Indian or Asian”. Afrikaans is the first language of 50% of the province’s population. IsiXhosa—a Nguni Bantu language with click consonants—is the first language of 25%, and English is the first language of 20%
David Harris, who is involved in the local Jewish community in Western Cape, said the wall surrounding the cemetery could not keep the vandals from breaking into the grounds.
“The cemetery is already 150 years old,” Harris told the Oudtshoorn Courant. “The vandals simply climb over the walls and defecate in the cemetery, dump their rubbish here and vandalize the last resting place of our loved ones. The Jewish community has been maintaining the cemetery for several years now and is now paying for the graves themselves to be repaired.”
Harris noted that “the barbed wire we put up a few years ago has also been stolen.”