#8 Apartheid Museum

South Africa Travel Blog

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This extraordinarily powerful museum has already become the city's leading tourist attraction, an obligatory stop for visitors and residents alike. The Museum, with its large blown-up photographs, metal cages and numerous monitors recording continuous replays of apartheid scenes set in a double volume ceiling, concrete and red brick walls and grey concrete floor, is next to the Gold Reef City Casino, five kilometers south of the city centre in Johannesburg.

After a few hours at the Apartheid Museum you will feel that you were in the townships in the '70s and '80s, dodging police bullets or teargas canisters, or marching and toyi-toyiing with thousands of school children, or carrying the body of a comrade into a nearby house.

The Apartheid Museum opened in 2001 and is acknowledged as the pre-eminent museum in the world dealing with 20th century South Africa, at the heart of which is the apartheid story. Beginning in 1948, the white elected National Party government implemented the policy of apartheid which turned 20 million people into second class citizens, damning them to a life of servitude, humiliation and abuse.

Their liberation in 1994 with the election of Nelson Mandela, the prisoner who became president, is a climax in the saga of a nation's resistance, courage and fortitude. The Apartheid Museum, the first of its kind, illustrates the rise and fall of apartheid.

An architectural consortium, comprising several leading architectural firms, conceptualized the design of the building on a seven-hectare stand. The museum is a superb example of design, space and landscape offering the international community a unique South African experience.

The exhibits have been assembled and organized by a multi-disciplinary team of curators, film-makers, historians and designers. They include provocative film footage, photographs, text panels and artifacts illustrating the events and human stories that are part of the epic saga, known as apartheid. A series of 22 individual exhibition areas takes the visitor through a dramatic emotional journey that tells a story of a state-sanctioned system based on racial discrimination and the struggle of the majority to overthrow this tyranny.

For anyone wanting to understand and
experience what apartheid South Africa was really like, a visit to the Apartheid Museum is fundamental. The museum is a beacon of hope showing the world how South Africa is coming to terms with its oppressive past and working towards a future that all South Africans can call their own.

The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays. Admission is 30R.

http://www.apartheidmuseum.org/

 

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