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From Human Wrongs to Human Rights: Human Rights Day at Iziko Museums of South Africa


Media images and interview requests and enquiries, please contact:
Zikhona Jafta 021 481 3838 or email

Commemorate Human Rights Day, 21 March 2019, with *free entry to (selected) Iziko Museums of South Africa. Iziko provides visitors the opportunity to delve into the human rights issues explored through the Museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Visit the Iziko Slave Lodge, a space that has evolved from one of horror to gentle remembrance. Its history, enveloped with human wrongs, has today evolved into a beacon promoting human rights. Under Cover of Darkness concentrates on the lives of women in the service of the Cape Colony – specifically Krotoa, Susanna van Bengal and Zara van der Caab – and investigates and interrogates racial and gender hierarchies within the history of the Slave Lodge.

The exhibition, Unshackled History: the Wreck of the Slave Ship, São José, 1794brings into memory the wreck of the Portuguese slave ship, theSão José, which foundered off the coast of Cape Town in 1794. The exhibition aims to tell the story of the wreck, the enslaved Africans on board, and its place in the world. This unique contribution to the study of the impact and legacies of the global slave trade has the potential to reshape our understanding of the past, our interconnectedness as a human race, and deepen a human rights culture across society.

KEMET: Life in Ancient Egyptmakes use of an Augmented Reality game for visitors to actively explore and engage with life in ancient Egypt. Following a story that unfolds when an ordinary Egyptian passes away and enters the afterlife, this exhibition seeks to bring the past back to life and draws on themes of religion and recreation. The exhibition also displays scale models of a mummification chamber and an Egyptian slave scene – prompting dialogues around ancient African cultures and belief systems.  

Exhibitions such as these seek to challenge institutional narratives and bring accounts of oppression to the fore. Affirming the contemporary role museums play in deepening a human rights culture across society, this year’s commemoration of Human Rights Day finds its strength in highlighting the notion from human wrongs to human rights – where Iziko has created a space of engagement through platforms for dialogue and the promotion of tolerance and understanding.

Iziko’s Public Programmes unit will also be hosting a Human Rights Day workshop and discussion at the TH Barry lecture theatre in the Iziko South African Museum. The event runs from 11h00 until 13h00.

A commemorative day born from the March 21st Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, Human Rights Day comes as both a celebration of the rights of all citizens and a solemn remembrance of those who suffered to secure them.

*Excludes the Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome, the Castle of Good Hope, and Groot Constantia.



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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