The Slave Lodge is one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town. The building has answered to many names in the last three centuries, namely; Slave Lodge, Government Offices Building, Old Supreme Court, and SA Cultural History Museum. All these names reflect the long and rich history of the building.
In 1998 this museum was renamed the Slave Lodge. Under the umbrella theme, ‘From human wrongs to human rights”. Exhibitions on the lower level of this museum explore the long history of slavery in South Africa. Through our changing, temporary exhibitions we address issues around and we raise human rights awareness.
The upper level galleries as well as other spaces in the museum will be renewed in the coming years.
The museum also offers an audio-guided tour, which can be rented at a nominal fee. This guide takes you on a historical journey through the Slave Lodge and provides insight into the dismal living conditions during slavery in South Africa.
School groups lessons are also offered and can booked with one of our educators. For more information about school visits see the Education and Public Programmes section of this website.
Unfortunately, the museum does not have a shop. Visitors are however able to purchase an informative brochure entitled “Slaves at the Cape: Oppression, Life and Legacy”. The brochure provides visitors with an overview of the history of slavery at the Cape. Visiting exhibitions are sometimes accompanied by publications which can be purchased at the reception desk.
The upper galleries of the Iziko Slave Lodge are open to the public. The majority of these exhibitions are older displays which showcase some highlights from our ceramics, silverware and Egyptology collections amongst others. These exhibitions however do not focus on the history of the slavery in South Africa.
The ceramics gallery offers a selection of ceramics from various parts of the world. This includes early Chinese ceramics from the Tang dynasty (618-907) grave goods, and subtly glazed wares such as Jun, Ding and Celadon. South African wares on show include Ceramic Studio and Linn Ware objects made at Olifantsfontein during the first half of the 20th century, as well as contemporary works.
The silver gallery shows a range of domestic and commemorative objects of Cape, English, Malaysian and Russian origin. The Mullne Collection of Cape silver, on loan from the Northern Flagship Institution in Pretoria, is also on show.
In the coming years we wish to transform these galleries to draw links to national heritage and history.