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The Year of Unity and Renewal: Protecting and Preserving our Human Rights Gains

Join Iziko Museums of South Africa in commemorating and celebrating Human Rights Day For media images and[…]

Tata Madiba. Father of our democracy: Father of our Nation.

Iziko Museums of South Africa celebrated the International Mandela Day centenary conversation in July 2018 with the launch of Tata Madiba: Father of our democracy, Father of our nation at the Iziko South African Museum. The centenary commemorated the birth of uTata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, (Ah! Dalibhunga) – a leader, comrade, negotiator, prisoner and statesman – one of Africa’s most prolific and iconic leaders. 

Recognised across the globe as both a symbol of sacrifice and beacon of hope, Madiba’s life lessons are part of our cultural heritage – constituting a national treasure that we must conserve and share for future generations. Madiba was a leader, icon and symbol of the nation, whose long walk to freedom became synonymous with our history. He was also known for his humility and sense of collective leadership. He made full use of the ‘weapons’ at his disposal: love, persuasion, forgiveness and acute political acumen – with a fair amount of self-deprecating humour. 

Nelson Mandela was not only central to South Africa’s epic struggle against apartheid – his role in helping build a new nation from the fragments of our conflicted histories, his fearless pursuit of the dream of democracy and a non-racial society in order to create a better life for all, is a legacy that must be valued. The upgraded exhibition brings together objects, specimens and artworks to stimulate conversation about Madiba’s life, struggles and legacy.  

Installation view: Tata Madiba exhibition. Photograph: Nigel Pamplin. © Iziko Museums of South Africa.

This multidisciplinary exhibition pays tribute to Nelson Mandela as an instrumental catalyst of change, a warrior against apartheid and advocate of social cohesion. Madiba’s extraordinary contribution in terms of the protection of South Africa’s rich biodiversity; including the many species named after him and those he and his fellow prisoners may have encountered on Robben Island, are also featured. 

Installation: Tata Madiba exhibition. Photograph: Nigel Pamplin. © Iziko Museums of South Africa.

A focal point of this exhibition is the iMadiba Project – an artistic recreation of Madiba’s Robben Island cell, conceptualised and created by Stellenbosch-based photographer and artist Erhardt Thiel

During his incarceration on Robben Island, uTata Madiba cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society, one in which all people could live together in harmony without fearing the nature of their differences. The iMadiba Project supports the Nelson Mandela Foundation in its objective of honouring Madiba’s legacy. Based on the actual dimensions of the Robben Island cell where the late president spent most of his 27 years of incarceration, it stands as a literal reminder of our past, and the future we strive to build together. The installation has bars, as the cell did, and its open doorway symbolises a space for dialogue, memory and reflection – inviting conversations in safe spaces.

Individuals are invited to engage with the artwork by using the space as a conversation station. The size of the installation also means that those engaging in the space do so in close proximity, with no barriers, to each other. This call to action is directly aligned with Iziko’s vision to ignite conversations and connections within museum exhibitions.  

Installation: Tata Madiba exhibition. Photograph: Nigel Pamplin. © Iziko Museums of South Africa.

Tata Madiba: Father of our democracy, Father of our nation serves as a vehicle to engender a positive legacy through dialogue, memory, reflection and forward thinking. Strengthening our democracy requires consistent, continued and collective commitment from citizens. In naming the conversation station, the words ‘I’ and ‘Madiba’ open our minds to finding ways in which we can emulate his values. The call to ‘Be the Legacy’ is an opportunity for each of us to make small individual changes that can collectively have a significant impact in accelerating the change required to fight inequality and poverty and improve the lives of the people. 

To view the Tata Madiba tribute booklet online click HERE 

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Zikhona Jafta
Tel: +27(0)214813862
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Dear Visitors,

Please be advised that Iziko Museums’ Winter Operating Hours have been adjusted for weekends.

Winter Weekend Hours:

Saturdays: 08h30 – 16h00

Iziko Museums: Slave Lodge, South African Museum and South African National Gallery,

Bo-Kaap Museum and Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome

Sundays: 08h30 – 16h00

Iziko Museums: Iziko South African Museum, South African National Gallery

and Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome

Thank you,

Iziko Management

Dear Visitor 


Iziko Museums’ Winter Operating Hours Update. 


Please be advised that the weekend(SAT and SUN) operating hours have been adjusted. 

The museums will open operate from 08h30 to 16h00 on weekends during winter.


Saturdays from 08h30 to 16h00

Iziko South African Museum and Planetarium, Iziko South African National Gallery, 

Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum and Iziko Slave Lodge. 


Sundays from 08h30 to 16h00

Iziko South African Museum and Planetarium and Iziko South African National Gallery. 


By order 

Iziko Management.