Amafa to Proclaim Sibhudu Shelter

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THE KwaZulu-Natal Heritage Council (Amafa) is taking steps to have Sibudu Cave – an important Middle Stone Age site on the Tongaat River, on the North Coast – proclaimed a Provincial Heritage Landmark.

Sibudu is currently being excavated and analysed by archaeologists from the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Tuebingen in Germany. 

Before Sibudu can be proclaimed it has to be protected from human encroachment. Amafa has set up a 200m radius zero development zone around the cave and is negotiating with several parties for this to be observed.

The Qwabe Traditional Authority has agreed to respect the 200m zero development zone and Amafa is currently negotiating with two private landowners for the lease or purchase of sections of their property that fall within the 200m radius. 

A caretaker has been appointed to report on any threats to the site. In addition to this, the site's conditionis monitored regularly by Amafa staff. 

In 2010  Amafa enforced alterations to the development plan for a housing development at Wewe/Driefontein so that it would not impact on Sibudu or encroach on the 200m zero development zone. 

“Sibudu is a very important archaeological site,” said James van Vuuren, Deputy Director: Support, Professional and IT, with Amafa. “It is providing archaeologists with insights into the middle stone age. It forms part of a suite of Stone Age Sites in South Africa that must be protected from human encroachment to enable effective conservation. We are confident that the measures in place have created a balance between much needed economic development and conservation