The Zambia Land Alliance is concerned with reports that Grandview Academy wants the residents of Chitalo and Shangoma villages of the Shimabala area, Kafue district to exhume and relocate the remains of their relatives that were buried near the school.
Research by the Alliance has revealed that Grandview Academy has been constructed on a portion of land adjacent to an old burial site which was used by the people of the two named villages up to 2009.
Patrick Musole, the Alliance Executive Director said this burial site is now closed but the school has since directed the community members in the two villages of Chitalo and Shangoma to exhume the remains of their relatives and relocate them so that the school can construct teachers’ houses on the gravesite.
Mr Musole said the Alliance has been informed that the school is willing to provide coffins and labour to exhume the remains, but have not provided alternative land to rebury the remains.
“One family is claiming to have six family members buried on the same site. Zambia Land Alliance is of the view that this is not only unprecedented but unZambian and is at odds with our cultural norms and values that respect the dead”, he said.
Mr. Musole said the Alliance has seen graveyards that sit on land that has been acquired by investors, including foreign investors.
“Out of respect for our cultural values and norms, they have only fenced off the gravesites without tempering with them, while allowing relatives access to the gravesites. We have seen that in Kalumbila, Mpongwe, and even within Lusaka, behind Manda Hill Shopping Mall”, he added.
Mr. Musole said the Alliance, therefore, finds this excessive appetite for land by the Management of Grandview Academy to the point of not minding displacing the dead, unacceptable.
He has called on the Ministry of Religious Affairs and National Guidance, Chiefs and Traditional Affairs to intervene and protect that gravesite.
Mr. Musole has also advised members of the public, institutions and all stakeholders that as the Alliance welcomes development in this country, it is the duty of every Zambian to protect cultural heritage, values, and norms that define Zambia as a people.