We are celebrating 20 years of freedom, and South Africans of all walks of life are excited about where we’ve come from, and optimistic about where we’re going. Over this period, we mark a number of politically and socially significant commemorative days, including Freedom Day on 27 April; Africa Day on 25 May; and Youth Day on 16 June; as well as International Museum Day on 18 May 2014. Museums are at the heart of these celebrations, and we welcome visitors to walk the road with us to discover and commemorate our history as a nation.
Iziko Museums of South Africa, in partnership with Autograph ABP, host the first retrospective museum exhibition in Africa of Nigerian-born artist, Rotimi Fani-Kayode’s photographs. This first major retrospective in an African art museum comes at a time when many countries on the continent, including Nigeria, have enacted harsh legislation to enforce rigid norms in terms of human sexuality. EntitledRotimi Fani-Kayode (1955-1989): Traces of Ecstasy, the exhibition opened to critical review at the Iziko South African National Gallery on 12 February 2014.
Capetonians are creative – it’s a fact! The first evidence of human creativity was uncovered at Blombos Cave in the southern Cape,and form part of our Natural History collection. Discovered by Chris Henshilwood, the Blombos ochreis the earliest symbolic design, and the Blombos Nassarius kraussianus shell beads are the oldest symbolic ornaments in South Africa. In honour of these, the South African Post Office has launched a new stamp collection, photographed by Hein Botha,under the theme: “Symbols of South African Cultures”.
Wedged between St George’s Cathedral and Parliament is one of the oldest and most notorious buildings in Cape Town. The Slave Lodge was built in 1679 as the slave quarters of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). However, under the theme, ‘From human wrongs to human rights’, the Social History Collections department of Iziko Museums of South Africa is helping to transform this dark chapter of our history. It now hosts temporary exhibitions related to the legacies of slavery and the more recent history of South Africa. One of these is Singing Freedom: Music and the struggle against apartheid, which tells the story of the role music played during the struggle for freedom.
There has never been a more exciting time to be associated with Iziko Museums of South Africa, either through partnerships, funding or sponsorships of the wide-ranging programmes and innovative education and outreach activities. We are committed to working closely with all key stakeholders to foster a strong network of collaboration between related organisations, both nationally and internationally. Iziko values these partnerships, and recognises them as essential to meeting the objectives of the organisation.
Sir Max Michaelispresented the collection of Netherlandish old master paintings, known as the Michaelis Collection to the South African Nation in 1914. The City of Cape Town made available the Old Town House, to house the collection, and following renovations to restore the old building, the new art museum – the first in Cape Town – was opened to the public in 1916. And the rest, as they say, is history! But more than just a pretty reminder of the past, this glorious historical building, its walls covered with precious masterpieces by Frans Hals, Ruisdal and others, provides an ideal venue for stylish corporate events.
Upcoming and current exhibitions, planetarium shows, education and public programmes and events, and ‘friends’ activities currently on at Iziko Museums of South Africa. For a complete list of what’s happening at our museums, please see the Iziko website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute details.
A visit to the Iziko South African National Gallery by learners from the Mary Harding School for the Intellectually Impaired took place on 19 February 2014. Sponsored by Truworths Social Involvement Trust, the visit was conducted by facilitators for the Meaningful Access Projects’ Helen Binckes and Mariechen Schimmel. Held regularly at Iziko gallery spaces, initiatives like these give opportunities to learners who would otherwise not have easy access to art galleries, interacting with art, and experiencing the joy that art brings.
Iziko Museums of South Africa is celebrating 20 years of democracy, with the exhibition ‘Singing Freedom: Music and the struggle against apartheid.’ Music played a vital role during the struggle against apartheid. The melodies, carried in the hearts of people, served as calls to action, inspired, encouraged, and motivated. The freedom songs provide a window into the history of the organisations, events and individuals that were part of the liberation struggle.
The Cape Town Festival will celebrate its 15th birthday this year with a Community Vibrations Concert on Human Rights Day, Friday 21 March, dedicated to the legacy of the late President Nelson Mandela and marking our country’s 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy.
Iziko Museums of South Africa will commemorate the centenary of South Africa’s first house museum, offering free entry to Iziko Koopmans de–Wet House, on Monday, 10 March 2014. The house itself, originally built around 1700, still looks much the same today as it did then – a typical town house with symmetrical Neoclassical façade, and spacious rooms.
An exhibition of photographs, by George Hallett, will open at the Iziko South African National Gallery on 5 March 2014. Titled, George Hallett: A Nomad’s Harvest, the exhibition covers aspects of a career spanning more than half a century. The works on show are from the collection of George Hallett and augmented by a comprehensive display of biographical information, as well as, book and record covers designed by Hallett.