Advancing Restitution – a discussion


In February, Iziko Museums – in partnership with UWC – hosted Professors Dan Hicks and Ciraj Rassool for a discussion on museum restitution

On Monday, 28 February, Iziko Museums of South Africa, in partnership with the University of the Western Cape, hosted a public discussion titled Advancing Restitution at the Iziko South African Museum. The conversation, held between visiting Professor Dan Hicks and South African Professor Ciraj Rassool, highlighted the need for cultural restitution and the decolonisation of museums. Professor Hicks is the Curator of World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum and is a Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford. Professor Rassool leads the project Action for restitution to Africa at the University of the Western Cape, where he is a Professor in the Department of History.

Iziko’s Dr Wendy Black and Dr Paul Tichmann engaged Hicks and Rassool on how museum collections may be legacies of colonial or racist practices – and how the museum must, as Hicks writes in his book The Brutish Museums, “dismantle, repurpose, disperse, return, re-imagine, and rebuild itself”.

Dr Paul Tichmann opened the discussion by reminding guests that the Iziko South African Museum was established in 1825, and “as the first museum in Southern Africa, was also a part of the colonial, and later apartheid, era.” Tichmann went on to say that “this of course has significant implications in terms of the collecting practices, cataloguing, documentation, archives, and interpretations associated with, in particular, [Iziko Museums’] ethnographic collections.” Furthermore, it demonstrates the urgent need for museums – in South Africa too – to take meaningful action towards cultural restitution.  

For Rassool, the importance of community engagement and meaningful participation are critical components of the process: “There are important social aspects to restitution. It will only succeed if it happens through community work; if it happens through a consultative process; if it happens through a much wider process of consultation.”

Dr Wendy Black and Paul Tichmann host the discussion, Advancing Restitution at the Iziko South African Museum. Screenshot taken from the recording by Tanya Steenkamp © Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Advancing Restitution took place in the Whale Well of the Iziko South African Museum. Screenshot taken from the recording by Tanya Steenkamp © Iziko Museums of South Africa.

The discussion was recorded – and you can access it online here:


Exhibitions & Events

Inside Iziko

Iziko Museums



Dear Visitor,
Kindly note that the Iziko Bertram House, Iziko Koopmans-de Wet House and Iziko Rust en Vreugd on Friday, 7 April 2023 will be closed to the public.
We apologise for any inconvenience.
Iziko Management


Iziko Museums of South Africa will increase entry fees to all Iziko Museums for the first time in a decade, effective 1 April 2023. The new fees schedule was developed after undertaking a benchmarking assessment of local, regional, and national cultural/heritage attractions. The new entrance fees take our communities and visitors into consideration and remains a unique value-for money cultural and edutainment offering in Cape Town.