The Citizen (Gauteng)
Apartheid Museum closes
THE BEST: 20TH CENTURY SA HISTORY Gold Reef City’s licence believed to have been contingent on its establishment.
History and Johannesburg’s riches are hanging by a thread as uncertainty looms over the Apartheid Museum, following the announcement of the temporary closure of the institution.
On 29 April, the Apartheid Museum announced its temporary closure on its social media pages and added this was in line with government regulations to help curb the spread of Covid-19.
The museum opened in 2001, and is acknowledged as the pre-eminent museum in the world dealing with 20th century South Africa.
The museum boasts a permanent exhibition, a Nelson Mandela exhibition and temporary exhibitions showcasing a trip through time, from The Pillars of the Constitution to apartheid, Mandela’s release and the rise of black consciousness, as well as life after apartheid.
Freelance journalist Teresa Coetzee said she had taken her family to the museum just before lockdown last year.
“We spent much longer there than we intended because it was so fascinating. We learned things we never knew before,” she said.
Coetzee said she loved the old cars of Nelson Mandela and the photographs, and added her children had learned a lot.
Max du Preez, one of the journalists who contributed to the content and who helped with the videos at the museum, said the Apartheid Museum was a valuable asset to the country.
“It is the only museum that showcases the whole apartheid era in context for visitors,” Du Preez said.
Thousands of school pupils visited it yearly, not to mention overseas tourists.
“It is obvious the museum is running into bankruptcy,” he said.
It was unclear whether Gold Reef City casino would lose its license if the museum closed.
In 1995, the government set up a Gambling Board to issue casino licenses.
Bidders had to demonstrate how they would attract tourism and thereby grow the economy and stimulate job creation.
A consortium called Akani Egoli (Gold Reef City) won a bid that included the commitment to building a museum.
Neither the museum nor the department of sport, arts and culture had commented at the time of print. –