Apartheid Museum

By Alana Eagan.  On Saturday morning we took a trip to the Apartheid Museum.  Even the entrance of the museum was moving as there were separate entrances labeled “Whites” and “Non-Whites.”  The temporary Nelson Mandela exhibit truly showed all aspects of his life and all of the hats he wore – leader, comrade, negotiator, prisoner, statesman.  Quotes of his were printed on the wall above pictures and TV clips.  I found it especially moving that before and after prison, President Mandela stated almost identical views throughout prison, he remained strong and did not abandon his hope.  In the photography exhibition , photos of segration were very sad to see but there were also examples of culture and life during the mid-90s.  On one wall, they had listed all of hate laws put in place under apartheid.  The early laws were very basic, but grew more specific over time as people found loopholes.  The most emotional part for me was the movie on the Turbulent 80s.  The 1980s in South Africa were extremely violent and it was hard to watch such violence and people hurting each other.  It provided a stark contrast between South Africa during civil unrest and South Africa now as it is a beautiful, peaceful, and friendly country.  TV clips of previous political leaders showed propaganda defending apartheid and trying to make it sound beneficial.  Propaganda laws and separation are similar themes that were found in history from other parts of the world.  Even the way the museum was built was symbolic.  In the beginning , earlier in time the exhibits were dark and dim, as we were in the basement.  But by the end, after Mr. Mandela was elected, we were surrounded by joyous light and vibrant colors.  Overall, the Apartheid Museum was truly an uplifiting experience and each person that left felt free and thankful with hope for the future, unburdened by the ills of the past.

2 thoughts on “Apartheid Museum

  • I loved reading this – how the museum has been designed so that in a small way a visitor can feel the difference that ending apartheid brought to this country. The message of hope never wavered: consistency and dedication to hope remained steady. Your experience today is only possible because these events occurred.

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