After settling into Johannesburg our first city visit was the Apartheid Museum. This was opened in 2001, and details the entire political and history of South Africa.
The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa is a powerful and sobering tribute to the country’s turbulent past. The museum tells the story of apartheid, the system of racial segregation and discrimination that existed in South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s.
The museum starts in a dark corridor, and through chronological order takes you through the rough history of South Africa’s apartheid era, ending in a bright, airy, and open environment. Beginning with the early history of South Africa, tracing the country’s colonial past and the arrival of the Dutch and British settlers. The exhibits then move on to the 20th century and the rise of apartheid. Visitors can see how the apartheid system affected every aspect of life in South Africa, from education and housing to employment and social interaction.
One of the most striking features of the museum is its design. The entrance to the museum is divided into two separate gates, labeled “Whites Only” and “Non-Whites Only”. Visitors are assigned a race at random and must enter through the gate assigned to that race. This small but powerful experience gives visitors a sense of what it was like to live under the apartheid system, where people were segregated and discriminated against based solely on the color of their skin.
Inside the museum, visitors can explore a series of interactive exhibits, including photographs, documents, and artifacts from the apartheid era. The exhibits are arranged thematically, focusing on different aspects of apartheid, such as the pass laws, forced removals, and the resistance movements that eventually led to the downfall of apartheid.
Perhaps the most moving exhibit in the museum is the Wall of Names. This exhibit lists the names of over 3,500 people who were killed during the struggle against apartheid. Visitors can spend time reading the names and reflecting on the immense human cost of apartheid.
Overall, the Apartheid Museum is a powerful reminder of South Africa’s troubled past, and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of oppression. The museum provides an important educational opportunity for both locals and visitors, helping to ensure that the lessons of apartheid are not forgotten.
In addition to its exhibits, the museum offers a range of educational programs and resources, including guided tours and workshops for school groups. It also hosts a variety of events, such as film screenings and talks, that explore issues related to human rights and social justice.
Located in the heart of Johannesburg, the Apartheid Museum is a must-see destination for anyone interested in South Africa’s history and culture. It is a place of remembrance, reflection, and hope for a brighter future.