Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa

5 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Apartheid Museum, JohannesburgApartheid Museum, Johannesburg, Nelson MandelaApartheid Museum, Johannesburg, Nelson MandelaApartheid Museum, Johannesburg

{each color represents a different quote from Nelson Mandela. museum goers were asked to pick a quote that moved them, and add that color stick to this walkway.}

Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg A few hours after our plane landed in Jo'burg we made our way to the Apartheid Museum. It had always been at the top of our South Africa list so we journeyed there as quickly as we could. When we first arrived we were greeted with the above signs dedicated to Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday. 95. Wow. It was so moving to read some of the messages left for Tata Madiba. After reading some of the messages we made our way to the front of the museum to find that it had two entrances: One for 'whites' and one for 'non-whites'. Each of our tickets had one or the other printed on the back. Of course Matt received 'white' and I 'non-white'. Typical. The museum is quite beautiful and moving. It provides a solid history of the events in South Africa leading up to apartheid (cliff notes: racial segregation & white supremacy laws from 1948 - 1994). I was especially moved by 1) pro-apartheid propaganda videos (oh my), 2) the events leading up to the 1994 presidential election won by Nelson Mandela / African National Congress, and 3) the Nelson Mandela (temporary) exhibition. This incredible exhibition outlined all of Tata Madiba's life: childhood, repeated arrests, the transition from non-violent to 'acts of terrorism', 27 years of imprisonment, his release in 1990, his presidency from 1994 - 1999,  and his current life. I especially loved that there was a small section in the exhibition outlining some of short-comings of his presidency. Yes, he did so many incredible things for the people of South Africa but he isn't perfect. I have always known the name Nelson Mandela (oh, he's the guy that helped end Apartheid) but I had never known the person. I feel like after visiting Jo'burg and the Apartheid Museum I have a better sense of the beyond amazing man he is. I finally understand why the country loves him so. Because now I love Tata as well. He is truly the father of the beauty nation of South Africa. Museums such as the Apartheid museum are wonderful and so difficult at the same time. I left feeling similarly to how I feel after leaving the Museum of Tolerance or the Holocaust Museum: so sad that some people can be filled with such vile, ugly hate in their hearts .... but so moved that there are others who demand the respect and love for all individuals so much so that they dedicate their lives to that cause. And aren't we all so lucky that those people exist?

You and I can be those people.

NicoleSignature

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