Canadian Governor General captivated by Iziko Slave Lodge
Canada's Governor General, His Excellency, David Johnston, visited Iziko Museums of South Africa for a guided tour of the Iziko Slave Lodge on Monday, 20 May. Johnston was visiting South Africa from 19 to 22 May, as part of a tour of Africa, aimed at exploring prospects for closer ties between Canada and South Africa in science, technology and education.
According to the Consulate official who arranged the tour, the Governor General, a former president of McGill and Waterloo universities in Canada, “is keenly interested in democratic transitions and the values base of governance and rule of law.” The themes of his visit included the valuing of diversity and pluralism, and the importance of service to society. His decision to visit the Slave Lodge is indicative of his interest in gaining an understanding into the country’s diverse history and the challenges that had to be overcome to achieve the end of apartheid and the ushering in of the new democratic South Africa.
The preservation of our cultural heritage is a dynamic activity and Iziko has created a series of exhibitions that are fresh, exciting, inclusive and reflective of the people of our country and our content. “Our museums are relevant and inclusive places where people can explore our collective and heritage, historic and artistic landscape,” says Rooksana Omar, Iziko CEO.
“Museums are not only spaces of memory that celebrate our cultural diversity.Today more than ever, museums are at the heart of cultural, social and economic issues in contemporary societies. They are an integral part of the contemporary life of a city; with the potential to contribute to socio-economic development and can play a key role in development through education and democratisation. As a national museum, our mandate is to conserve, preserve and interpret the cultural, natural and artistic heritage that is part of the national estate. We aspire to make our knowledge and collections accessible, and to showcase both our tangible and intangible heritage for all people and future generations,” she concluded.
“The Governor General paid close attention to the history of slavery and was also very taken up with the story of Oliver Tambo and the struggle for liberation in South Africa,” said Paul Tichmann, curator of Social History. Once a space associated with the inequalities of the past, the Iziko Slave Lodge today is a space of remembrance, raising awareness of issues of human rights, equality and justice.
Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko) operates 11 national museums, the Planetarium, the Social History Centre and three collection‑specific libraries in Cape Town. The museums that make up Iziko have their own history and character, presenting extensive art, social and natural history collections that reflect our diverse African heritage. Iziko is a public entity and non-profit organisation that brings together these museums under a single governance and leadership structure. The organisation allows *free access to all individuals on commemorative days, (*excluding the Castle of Good Hope and Planetarium).
COMMEMORATIVE DAYS – FREE ENTRANCE
- Human Rights Day: 21 March
- Freedom Day: 27 April
- International Museum Day: 18 May
- Africa Day: 25 May
- Youth Day: 16 June
- National Women’s Day: 9 August
- Heritage Week: 21-27 September
- National Aids Awareness Day: 1 December
- Emancipation Day: 1 December
- Day of Reconciliation: 16 December
- Castle of Good Hope and Planetarium, free only on International Museum Day and Heritage Day