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12th Jun 2022

Architect Africa Online

Africa's Leading Architecture Aggregator

DA calls on Arts Department to urgently produce plan to save museums

by Veronica van Dyk MP – DA Deputy Shadow Minister for Sports, Arts and Culture

The DA will write to the Director-General of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, Vusumusi Mkhize, to present an action plan to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sports, Arts and Culture to save independent and State-owned museums, institutions and historic sites in South Africa as a matter of urgency.

It has recently come to light that both the world-renowned Apartheid Museum and the Liliesleaf heritage site will have to close their doors, and that the Robben Island Museum is also in ruin.

It is true that independent cultural institutions are perpetually in need of funds to ensure the preservation of history, but the continuous lockdown brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic deteriorated their financial situation to such an extent that these vital sites might have to cease operation.

The callous way the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, and his Department have handled the implosion of the South African arts and culture sectors the last 14 months is shocking. Independent theatres, a vital part of the economic development of their communities, have fallen like flies due to Covid-19 relief funding not being made available to assist them. Those making their living from the sectors have lost their homes, their income and many are starving. Museums and heritage sites are now following in those tragic footsteps.

The ANC government has a precedent of putting the party above the country, so it’s unbelievable that institutions crucial to preserving not only South African history, but also the history of the ANC, would be left in the lurch. The only conclusion is that the ANC knows it’s recent history of corruption can never measure up to its struggle roots. The ANC government should be ashamed of its inability to preserve sites that are essential to the preservation of history.

Banner image: Entrance to Apartheid Museum, Source: Wikipedia

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