Museum Security Network

Bronze R30000 statue stolen from KWT

Bronze R30000 statue stolen from KWT

FLASHBACK: Three-times former world boxing champion Vuyani Bhungu with the statue of his great grandmother, Prophetess Nonthetha Nkwenke, which is now missing. Picture: MICHAEL PINYANA

A STATUE of Prophetess Nonthetha Nkwenke has disappeared from outside the King William’s Town Magistrates Court – and police didn’t even know it was missing.



The statue, which portrayed the prophetess looking up at the sky, with a scarf at her feet, was erected in 2007 as part of the Sunday Times Heritage Project.




Senior Superintendent Thembinkosi Manentsa of the King William’s Town police said that he “did not know anything about it”.

“I don’t even know when the statue went missing,” he told the Daily Dispatch yesterday.

 Sunday Times Heritage Project team member Mantombi Makhubele said they had been told but but had not yet decided whether or not to replace it.

 Somine van der Merwe , assistant director of King William’s Town’s Amathole Museum, said they were “very upset” but had “feared it would happen”.

“We heard earlier this year that the statue was in danger of going missing but we remained hopeful that, since this is part of history that affects all the residents of King, it would not happen.”

 In 1922, King William’s Town magistrates committed Nkwenkwe to Fort Beaufort mental hospital for “medical observation” as hundreds of her followers sang hymns outside.

Nkwenkwe had begun having visions and preaching after surviving the 1918 flu epidemic. Authorities feared her growing popularity would threaten white rule and the established churches.

Nkwenkwe died in 1935.

 Artist Lynnley Watson , who was commissioned to make the R30000 statue, said: “It’s really sad, especially if it’s just going to be melted down. People have no respect for public property.”

 Last year, in East London, the statue of Desmond Tutu , which stands in front of the city hall, had its head chopped off. It has recently been restored.

Two other statues – at Eastern Beach and Duncan Village – were also vandalised. – By ZISANDA NKONKOBE

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