Executive of the PHOENIX FOUNDATION TRUST Mr Segai Kiston together with the officiating priest - Mr Nanda Moodley
standing either sides of the plaque erected by Tongaat Hulett.


 

MOUNT EDGECOMBE CEMETERY
A HISTORICAL LANDMARK

The closure of the mill in 1994 had a serious impact not only with the passive and humble community that served the sugar mill and estates for more than a century the cleaning operation of the Mount Edgecombe Cemetery was equally affected. The Mount Edgecombe Cemetery is situated in Campbellstown one of many estates managed by the Tongaat Hulett previously known as Natal Estates and has sentimental value as many pioneers are interred in the cemetery.
Although the cemetery was officially opened shortly after the arrival of the 1860 settlers by Mr R.A.C. Zammit Esq and leaders of the Indian community A.A. John, Mr G.M Stephen and religious and cultural leader Mr Shan Govender this cemetery was equally enjoyed by other cultures and religious groups. Tongaat Hulett always maintained a true aroma of a Rainbow Nation.
After numerous discussions with community members regarding the future of the cemetery Mr V. Naidoo (Veriah) and Mr Segai Kistonapproached local Councillor Mr Y. Saib and George Marie and there after followed by a meeting at the Natest Primary School on the 4th May 1977. Beside the general public some of the delegates that were invited to this meeting were:

(1) Tongaat Hulett (2) Durban Metro Councillors
(3) Director of Cemeteries (4) Durban City Health Offices

The meeting resulted in the formation of an interim task team comprise of seven members later converted into the Mount Edgecombe Cemetery Trust. As these members had a full time job the cleaning operation was further affected. Phoenix Foundation Trust a non-profit organization as part of a job creation programme has obtained a written agreement by the Mount Edgecombe Cemetery Trust to undertake the management of the cemetery. Due to the cemetery remained unattended and families had difficulty to enter and all burials were stopped in1996.The Phoenix Foundation Trust with numerous meetings with all relevant authorities resulted in the Phoenix foundation trust given the mandate to conduct burials. Burials have once again commenced in 2002. Unlike many other cemeteries the Mount Edgecombe Cemetery is not subsidized, however it is highly depended on sponsors and donations for the day to day running of this operation. Over 15 people either employed or receive training through this project. The Phoenix Foundation Trust has over the years made many improvements, upgrade and renovations and still continuing. Not having any respect for the deceased, this cemetery is being experiencing trespassers, vandalism and even theft. In this regard we have commenced erecting a boundary wall. However due to lack of funds we are unable to complete the remaining of the wall. Thus we appeal to your humble self for support. We invite you to our website: www.phoenixfoundationtrust.org.za You more than welcome to visit or send a representative to our site.

MANAGEMENT PHOENIX FOUNDATION TRUST


MOUNT EDGECOMBE CEMETERY
ONCE A SUGAR TOWN

Mount Edgecombe was founded in 1849 when Captain William Smeardon was given a plot of land under the Byrne Emigration Scheme (1849 – 1851). He built the first sugar mill in the area in 1859. The sugar mill was not very profitable and production was low. This changed when Marshall Campbell purchased the mill in 1895. With this takeover, Natal Estates Limited, one of the largest sugar milling giants in South Africa was born.

Under the Campbells, the Sugar Mill witnessed unprecedented growth. The expansion of the company resulted in the establishment of twenty-two sugar estates whose specific purpose was to cultivate and provide a constant supply of sugar cane to the Mount Edgecombe Sugar Mill. The closure of the Mount Edgecombe Sugar Mill in 1994 witnessed the end of an important chapter in the history of the sugar industry in Kwa Zulu Natal.

Today most of the twenty- two estates have been sold to private developers. Life in the village has changed. Many of the local villagers have left to seek new jobs. Some have purchased the company homes and continue to live in the estates. People who now occupy the villages are strangers to each other. Life in the villages has changed and continues to change with the passage of time and it will never be the same again. The Mill and the Sugar Estates attracted people of all cultures due to their rich cultural heritage. A rainbow of true colors and an environment of rich sweet aroma, an experience the young and the young at heart will always remember for a long time.

Mount Edgecombe will always be remembered for the many worship sites, educational sporting and recreational facilities.

Part of its job creation program the PHOENIX FOUNDATION TRUST has taken over management of the Mount Edgecombe Cemetery from the previous organization. Tongaat Hulett being a multi cultured company. Except for muslim burials provisions were made for other cultures. Plaques of many pioneers can still be seen at the cemetery.

The desire of the PHOENIX FOUNDATION TRUST is to continue protecting the Mount Edgecombe as another historical landmark.


With the assistance of sponsors and well wishes the following was made possible:

1) A container which is used as a changing room to the staff.
2) Formulated many documents that will be used for internment.
3) Water facilities were introduced.

3men (1) m1
Ward Councilor: Roy Moodley
Mt Edgecombe Mill Employees: Krish Naidoo (left) & Venkanna Naidoo (right)


4) Commenced boundary wall. (still in progress)

wall (1) m2

5) Maintenance regarding grass-cutting, shrubs, painting and numbering of the graves on a regular basis.
6) Project administration.
7) Communication with families twenty four hours, seven days a week.
8) Acting as advisory capacity to bereaved families.
9) Installed a shrine mainly for the Hindu burials.
10) As part of our job creation program. This project made provision for employees and trainees.

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FUNDING
The day–to–day running of this operation requires funding.
Donations and sponsors are welcome by using the following bank account:

BANK:     FIRST NATIONAL BANK
NAME:     PHOENIX FOUNDATION TRUST
ACCOUNT NUMBER:    62109783896
BRANCH:    PHOENIX PLAZA
BRANCH CODE:   220529