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Quispamsis NB, New Brunswick
January 4, 2004
Activists, such as Nelson Mandela, were jailed for their beliefs. Others died by the thousands. The segregation in North America was minor compared to that of South Africa.
Finally, that came to a legal end in 1991. Then we see Mr. Mandela being released from jail and eventually being elected President of South Africa.
In 2002, the Apartheid Museum was opened here in Johannesburg. It is a modern cement building and the exhibits inside can be shocking and are definitely an eye-opener.
The quote outside the buildings is from Nelson Mandela and it reads, "To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains. But to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." There are six columns (pillars) stretching skyward outside the entrance. Each column has a single word inscribed on it. There is the column of Freedom, Respect, Responsibility, Diversity, Reconciliation, and Equality. Each of these describe what the museum is representing to the people of South Africa and the world – for the future.
Segregation - It all starts when you pay for your admission. You are randomly given an entry chit that is either white or black. That determines which door you must enter to get into the museum. Our group found that we saw the same things in both entrances, but they were put in different perspectives. Through either door, we saw how it started in 1948. I went through the colored/black door and everything was extremely plain and stark in nature. Rita went through the white door and it was a very updated and modern display.
After going through this short introduction, you head outside to walk up an external display of mirrored pictures of people. There are anterooms with drawings in them as well depicting South African history.
As you enter the final section of the museum, you see a cement wall with the definition of "apartheid" on it. It reads "the system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race in force in South Africa 1984-1991." Then you are taken on an in-depth study of the entire apartheid movement from its conception to its final ending. You see how the peoples were oppressed and finally how they won back their freedom and dignity.
Plan on spending a good portion of your day here - it is not a museum that you can rush through. Unlike many historical museums, the Apartheid Museum is from current history and it demands your time and attention.
Hopefully there will one day be a website on the museum so that more in the world can share in its value.
From journal South Africa Part 5 or 7
December 30, 2006
From journal Jo'burg and the Burbs
October 30, 2003
From journal 5TH WEEK OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN ADVENTURE