Bakeng se Afrika is the brainchild of Professor Anna Oettlé from Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University and Prof Ericka L’Abbé from the Forensic Anthropology Research Centre at the University of Pretoria. They brought together six higher education institutions (three from South Africa and three from Europe) along with the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) to create the Bakeng se Afrika consortium.
The consortium was awarded a Capacity Building Grant in Higher Education (Erasmus+) from the European Union in 2018 and the project kicked off in 2019.
Bakeng se Afrika has three broad objectives:
to create a large digital repository of micro-CT scans of human skeletal material from South African osteological collections
to create standard operating procedures (SOPs) for scanning of bones and for storage and analyses of digital data
to create a constitution regarding the ethical use of digital scans of human remains
This digital skeletal repository will be stored at the University of Pretoria and will be made available online to national and international research institutions. Researchers and educators will be able to apply to use the data for use in research and teaching by submitting a research protocol and approval documentation from a health sciences research ethics committee.
Global advances in 3D research into human variation and skeletal anatomy will improve our methods to identify unknown persons in forensic anthropology and will be particularly useful for advances in medicine and education in South African Universities.