Apartheid Museum | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Apartheid Museum

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020

About Apartheid Museum

The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg chronicles the history of apartheid in South Africa and the struggle for human rights which ended this regime of racial segregation.

Apartheid Museum history

From 1948, when the National Party came to power, until 1994 South Africa had a series of racially discriminatory laws which oppressed certain races, particularly anybody of non-white descent. People were categorised according to their race and those who were not white were treated as second class citizens. This was the period known as the Apartheid.

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. The Apartheid Museum, the first of its kind, illustrates the rise and fall of apartheid.

An architectural consortium, comprising several leading architectural firms, conceptualised the design of the building on a seven-hectare stand. The exhibits have been assembled and organised by a multi-disciplinary team of curators, filmmakers, historians and designers. They include provocative film footage, photographs, text panels and artefacts illustrating the events and human stories. The museum is registered as a Public Benefit Company with an independent board of trustees.

Apartheid Museum today

Through its twenty-two exhibition areas, comprising original artefacts, information panels and multimedia presentations including films, the Apartheid Museum provides an in-depth insight into life under the apartheid regime. It also looks at the gradual campaign against the apartheid and the struggle for equal rights led by Nelson Mandela, the country’s eventual president.

The exhibits include permanent exhibits, temporary exhibits and a specific Mandela exhibit dedicated to the influential figure.

The sheer volume of information can make it an overwhelming experience; particularly distressing is a small chamber in which hang 131 nooses, representative of the 131 government opponents who were executed under antiterrorism laws.

Getting to the Apartheid Museum

The museum is located 8km south of the city centre, just off the M1 freeway. The site is less than half an hour away from central Johannesburg by bus.

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