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Celebrating 50 years of Earth Day with Mbali – Iziko’s Super Explorer!

Iziko Museums of South Africa

Join Mbali as she explores the importance of our natural world in the Earth Day comic book strip, The Adventures of Mbali – Iziko’s Super Explorer


Media images and interview requests, please contact:

Zikhona Jafta on 021 481 3838 or at

A global event celebrated annually to show support for the natural environment and to make people aware of the many dangers facing our planet today – Wednesday, 22 April 2020 marks 50 years since the first Earth Day was celebrated, and is aptly themed Climate Action Both the enormous challenges and vast opportunities of acting on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary; and amidst the crisis of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remember the environmental challenges we continue to face. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.

Iziko Museums of South Africa celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with the online launch of The Adventures of Mbali – Iziko’s Super Explorer­; a comic book strip featuring Mbali – a young explorer set on combatting climate change – and created by Karoo and Invertebrate Palaeontology interns at Iziko Museums: Louis Jonk, Devonne Kortje and Mogammad Hendricks.

Initially set to be a pop-up exhibition at the Iziko South African Museum, the Earth Day exhibit will exist digitally until the museums reopen. This online exhibition takes the form of the comic book strip, where chapters are separated based on existing themes, and many of the objects in the physical exhibition are presented in photographs and illustrations online. You can even download guidelines to making your own eco-brick, amongst other exciting activities!

The comic book strip’s lead character, Mbali, tackles the environmental and climate issues facing us today, and educates us about the natural world. Some say Mbali is Eliza Thornberry’s third cousin, born in the heart of South Africa; some say she has the superhuman ability to count 1000 ants without losing track, and that she can sense a mongoose napping underground from two kilometres away. Some say Mbali even knows the lyrics to the pop songs the whales are really singing in Iziko’s Whale Well. All we know is that Mbali is our super curious friend – an Earth Day Iziko explorer! Visit our website to read The Adventures of Mbali – Iziko’s Super Explorer.

Focusing on key environmental issues facing South African communities, The Adventures of Mbali – Iziko’s Super Explorer highlights how we can address these issues. In emphasizing the action already taken by researchers, individuals and communities – and using content and specimens from Iziko’s entomology collection, the terrestrial collection, the vertebrate collection, the marine biology collection and the palaeontology collection – Iziko’s Super Explorer truly celebrates the message of Earth Day: a historic moment when citizens of the world rise up in a united call for the creativity, innovation, ambition, and bravery that we need to meet our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future.

Earth Day was first held in 1970 after an accident occurred on an oil rig – spilling more than 11 million litres of oil, and causing massive damage to the environment. Because of this, members of the public and the American government came together and held the very first Earth Day on 22 April 1970. Today, more than a billion people celebrate this day in 192 countries, making Earth Day the largest non-religious holiday on the planet

Download your very own Earth Day activities here!




Issued by: Ellen Agnew

Communications Coordinator: Iziko Museums of South Africa

Telephone: 021 481 3830 Email:


Issued on behalf of the Office of the CEO, Iziko Museums of South Africa



About Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko)


Iziko operates 11 national museums, the Planetarium and Digital Dome, the Social History Centre and three collection‑specific libraries in Cape Town.  The museums that make up Iziko have their own history and character, presenting extensive art, social and natural history collections that reflect our diverse African heritage.  Iziko is a public entity and public benefit organisation that brings together these museums under a single governance and leadership structure.  The organisation allows *free access to all individuals on commemorative days, (*excluding the Castle of Good Hope, Groot Constantia and Planetarium and Digital Dome). Visit our webpage at, join our online community on Facebook (, Instagram (@izikomuseumssa) or follow us on Twitter (@Iziko_Museums) for regular updates on events, news and new exhibitions.


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Please be advised that all Iziko Museums of South Africa will be closed to the public on Election Day,  Wednesday, 29 May 2024.