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Looking A Head: Revisiting the Lydenburg Heads

Between 1962 and 1964, a young boy discovered strange pieces of pottery eroding out of a gully in Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Although the fragments were not formally excavated, the majority of the pieces were found and reconstructed to make up seven clay heads – collectively known as the Lydenburg Heads. This exhibition revisits these African treasures and the interesting symbols that adorn them – ultimately bringing into conversation the notion of rites of passage.

Iziko Museums of South Africa is the custodian of the Lydenburg Heads, and this online showcase pre-empts a physical exhibition of the artefacts, which will be opened at the Iziko South African Museum in the near future.

In this showcase, Iziko is sharing two videos about the Lydenburg Heads and rites of passage, as well as hosting a living memory bank.

Iziko invites friends, family and visitors to help us bring these artefacts to life by sharing diverse stories of rites of passage experiences. These stories will be shared online and will later be included in the physical exhibition at the Iziko South African Museum.

Through Looking A Head: Revisiting the Lydenburg Heads, Iziko explores how museums and the artefacts they house can become more inclusive, and how that inclusivity can help bring the artefacts to life.




Ever gone through a formal or informal ceremony marking the passage from one religious or social status to another? We would love to hear from you!

From coming-of-age events – such as your Matric ball, a special birthday celebration, or your Ntonjane – right through to marriages or births, these are all considered rites of passage. They are celebrated around the world, and have been throughout history.

Connect with the present, the archaeological and the historical by joining Iziko in creating a living memory bank! Share your thoughts and experiences of both informal and formal rites of passage, and let us know how this transitional event has affected your lived experience, contributed to how you identify with others, or how you felt before, during and after the ceremony.

We’d love for you to be a part of this!

Please respect the platform as well as the sensitive nature of certain rites of passage, and share with us what you are able to.

T&Cs: Iziko will use this content in exhibitions and marketing materials. You will be attributed if you leave your name or social media handles in the comment; anonymous comments are also welcome.

Exhibition Type:
Virtual Exhibition


Media Enquiries:

Zikhona Jafta
Tel: +27(0)214813862
Fax: +27(0)214619620
Switchboard: +27(0)214813800
Email: mediaofficer@iziko.org.za


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