The author obtained verbal permission to quote interviews conducted while in Cape Town, South Africa, and written as well as verbal permission to quote those conducted in the United States. For any questions our comments about the methodology of this research, please contact the author.


Thousands of remains belonging to Cape Town’s colonial underclass were uncovered at Prestwich Street in 2003. The unidentified nature of the bones has allowed the citizens of Cape Town to tell the cemetery’s story in a number of different ways. The academic elite of Cape Town, in the interest of nation-building, have agreed upon narratives which grant the burial site universal significance, regardless of whose ancestors are represented. Despite lofty common goals, however, each narrative of Prestwich Street maintains its teller’s inherent ethnic or social bias, seeking security or prominence in a new and quickly changing nation.



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