SA’s First & Only Ottoman Consul General Mehmet Remzi Bey Reburied, 106 Years After his Death

The first and only Ottoman Consul General to South Africa Mehmet Remzi Bey has been reburied, 106 years after his death. 

This comes after the Pretoria High Court ordered that his remains be exhumed from a mosque in Midrand and returned to the renamed Sontonga Braamfontein Cemetery  in Johannesburg, his original burial place. 

Remzi Bey was reburied on Tuesday, 18 January 2022 which marked the return to the original grave at the cemetery  in the presence his granddaughter, Turkish officials and citizens. 

Born on 30 December 1869 in İstanbul to a family of  Ottoman aristocrats  and upon completion of professional training Remzi Bey joined the Ottoman Foreign Service at the age of 23. 

He served with distinction at the Ottoman diplomatic missions in various countries including Bulgaria, Crimea, Iran, and Georgia before bei9ng appointed Consul General to South Africa on 21 April 1914, shortly before the outbreak of World War I. 

After the Ottoman Empire’s entry into the war and despite his diplomatic status, he was interned by the colonial government of Great Britain in South Africa and suffered unprecedented difficulties during his detention. 

Remzi bey was only released by his captors when they realised he would not survive while in detention. 

Remzi Bey died shortly after his release from detention on 14 February 1916, at the  age of 46 and was buried at the Muslim section of the Braamfontein cemetery in Johannesburg. 

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