Continental first for Iziko Museums of South Africa

  • Posted: May 12, 2014

Museum collections make connections

International Museum Week: 12- 18 May, 2014.  

To mark International Museum Week (12 – 18 May 2014), Iziko Museums of South Africa is set to become the first museum in Africa to exhibit one of SA’s greatest palaeo-finds. Professor Lee Berger, team leader of the Malapa Project of the Evolutionary Studies Institute at Wits University, will be handing over a standing replica of Australopithecus sediba - one of the most complete skeletons of early human relatives ever found.

The replica of the reconstructed upright ‘Karabo’ – the type skeleton of Australopithecus sediba discovered at the Malapa Site in the Cradle of Humankind, is a donation by Wits University, in partnership with the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site (COH WHS) Management Authority.  As part of the handover Berger will also deliver a public lecture titled: The origins of our species – Australopithecus sedibaand our changing understanding of human origins, at the Iziko South African Museum (ISAM) on Thursday, 15 May 2014.

The cast will be incorporated in the exhibition: “The search for our early ancestors,” currently on show at ISAM - the country’s second oldest scientific institute, established in 1825.  Australopithecus sediba shows a mosaic of characters of the more ape-like Australopithecines and the earliest representatives of our own genus Homo.  This new 1.977 – 1.98 million year old species appears to fill a gap between Australopithecus africanus and the earliest representatives of our own genus, placing it on the cusp of a transition observed in our fossil record.  

For every object on exhibition at the museum, there are thousands more carefully stored away. This year’s International Museum Day (IMD) theme ‘Museum collections make connections’, demonstrates how museums are living institutions that help create bonds between visitors, generations and cultures around the world.

Iziko Museums of South Africawill host a week-long series of activities leading up to the IMD programme on 17 May. Ever wondered what happens in the laboratories and storerooms of the museums? Considering a career as a museum scientist, curator or conservator? Be sure to book your behind the scenes tours with Wandile Goosen Kasibe via email on

Tours of the following exhibitions and collections are scheduled at 11am and 2pm from 12 to 17 May:  

  • At the Iziko Slave Lodge: OR Tambo: The modest revolutionary andThe isiShweshwe Story: material women?
  • At the Iziko South African Museum; Behind the scenes in the Karoo Palaeontology lab, Entomology Collections
  • Guided Tours of Iziko Rust en Vreugd at 12:00 and 14:00 on 15 and 16 May 2014.

A diverse range of books, journals, posters and exhibition catalogues will be available at the Annual Art Book Sale, starting at10:00 until 15:00, at the Iziko South African National Gallery on Friday, 16 May 2014.

Join Iziko for a fun-filled day of adventure, discovery and free entrance on 17 May 2014.   

International Museum Day programme highlights:

  • Guided tours of the Iziko Bo-Kaap; Slave Lodge and South African Museum, start at 11am in the foyer of each museum.
  • Join, curator, Nina Liebenberg for a walkabout of the exhibition: Suspicious minds:Artists' exploration of mind and matter, in the Iziko South African National Gallery Annexe at 11am
  • Tweens, teens and all budding cartoonists – don’t miss the cartoon workshop, hosted by artist and illustrator, Vernon Fourie in the Iziko activities centre (ISAM) from 11:00-13:30.
  • Travel through galaxies and join Solly Snail on his quest to become the fasted snail in the universe. Find out whether his plan to ask a shooting star will help him to be chosen for his garden's soccer team. Free Planetarium shows are scheduled every hour from 11:00 until 15:00

Full programme details available online.  For bookings and programme enquiries, contact:

Wandile Goozen Kasibe on 021 481 3804/13 or email:



Issued by: Melody Kleinsmith
Communications Coordinator: Institutional Advancement, Iziko Museums of South Africa
Telephone +27 (0) 21 481 3861                                   Facsimile +27 (0) 21 461 9620
Cell 073 107 4955                                                              E-mail


On behalf of: Office of the CEO, Iziko Museums of South Africa

Notes to editor:

About Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko)

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). Visit our webpage at, join our online community on Facebook ( or follow us on Twitter (@Iziko_Museums) for regular updates on events, news and new exhibitions. 

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