ICCHS Research Seminar, 1-2pm, Room 1.06, 18 Windsor Terrace
Speaker: Aron Mazel
Exhibiting Apartheid: the first displays of the South African Cultural History Museum
The South African Cultural History Museum (SACHM) was opened in Cape Town on 6 April 1966. Then known as Van Riebeeck’s Day, this date carried deep symbolic significance in the Afrikaner psyche wherein Van Riebeeck, who was the first colonial governor of the Dutch settlement at the Cape, was seen as the founding father of the white South African nation. It has already been argued that during the 1950s and 1960s the National Party and Afrikaner Broederbond supporting ideologues increasingly dominated the South African Museum (SAM) Board that enabled and led to the creation of the SACHM as an offshoot of the SAM (Mazel 2013). Furthermore, it is believed that their aspirations changed from initially the display of cultural history material, within the auspices of the SAM, into the establishment an independent museum committed to the presentation and housing of white South African and European material and history. Acknowledging these perspectives, this seminar paper will investigate (i) the messages conveyed by the SACHM exhibits when it was opened to the public on Van Riebeeck’s Day in 1966 and (ii) the processes leading to the creation of the displays.
All welcome. No need to book. Please just come along!