A Freedom Day message from Ms Rooksana Omar, CEO, Iziko Museums of South Africa

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Iziko Museums of South Africa

South Africans will be celebrating 26 years of democracy at a time when the nation has been under lockdown for a little less than a month. The immediate impact of COVID-19 has forced us to change our daily routines, respect physical distancing and return to basic hygiene. The virus that is creeping through the world and decimating our daily lives, has lacerated our society, and for now is prohibiting us from being out and about, enjoying our hard won freedom.

Freedom Day, 27 April 2020, will be celebrated differently this year. Iziko Museums of South Africa is looking at our offerings and museum services differently. The wonderment of our world, social connectedness and the environment can be unlocked through museum visits. During the national lockdown, all Iziko Museums are temporarily closed. I would like to encourage you to visit our museums online, explore this rich treasure trove and keep in touch via our social media platforms.

Historically, museums are considered to be safe spaces of discovery. Museums, now more than ever due to this stressful global reality, can offer tangible experiences that can restore, reconnect and rejuvenate heart, mind and soul.  

In celebration of the freedom South Africans victoriously claimed on 27 April 1994, we invite you to reflect. Discover Singing Freedom: Music and the struggle against apartheid, through its focus on freedom songs, this exhibition shows that music was integral catalyst of the liberation. The Iziko Slave Lodge – a site with a traumatic and painful history – is today reclaimed as a monument to freedom, a site of memory and human rights.

#BeadsNotBullets looks back to the Casspir Project, an exhibition at the Iziko South African National Gallery in 2017.  Tata Madiba, Father of our democracy father of our nation invites conversation and facilitates dialogue around memory, contemplation and forward thinking. 

Collectively our freedom of expression, creativity and thought processes has to be valued. The essence of what we are, the kernel of our being, is what sustains us during this lockdown. Moving ahead, into the future, we plan to invite you back to our majestic halls and exhibition spaces that are large enough to maintain physical distancing, so that you can feel safe and enjoy your time at the museum. Until then, explore our museums and engage with us online.

 

#StayHome #StaySafe and #MuseumFromHome

Rooksana Omar

CEO, Iziko Museums of South Africa

April 2020