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Cultural and Historical Museums of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Apartheid Museum

This is a newer museum that opened up in 2001. It is an institute that offers a multi-media and multi-sensory experience from film makers, historians, designers, curators and architects for visitors to learn about the history of apartheid. This museum displays some of the darker historical moments, such as hanging 121 nooses from the roof and showing footage of police cars driving by. It also shows evidence of black and white resistance to the old system. The tickets for this museum indicate “white” or “non-white.” Definitely a powerful educational experience to learn about some of South Africa’s history.

Mandela Family Museum

This museum is located at the former house of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s most famous political prisoner and first president. It explores his life and his book, “Long Walk to Freedom.” It is located in Orlando West, Soweto, and is a rather humble building. The house has four rooms that have an array of pictures and assorted memorabilia from Mandela’s life, giving an insight of authentic history.

The Origins Center

This museum explores the history of evolution and modern humankind, from the origins in Africa to the migration into the Middle East, Europe, Asia and to the Americas. It was designed by a group of academics and designers of Wits University. It explores the development of human art, symbolism, technology and other great achievements.

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Hector Pieterson Museum

This history museum is named after Hector Pieterson, a 13-year-old student protester who was shot during the march through Soweto, back in June 16, 1976. During the tour, you are able to go through a network of ramps and windows where you can witness important scenes and television footage. The museum is next to the Hector Pieterson memorial.

Museum Africa

This museum is in a beautiful building from 1913, next to the Market Theater complex, in the Newtown Cultural Precint’s former produce market. It explores the cultural and ancient history of the African continent, from Egpyt to Kush (modern Sudan) to Punt (modern Somalia). There is also a collection of rock art and other ancient art. It also displays factors up until today, such as the urban development of Johannesburg. It also has a few exhibits on Nelson Mandela and apartheid. It is a great museum to understand the collective cultural consciousness of Africa.

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