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Humboldt and the Web of Life

Iziko Museums of South Africa

Iziko Museums partners with the Goethe Institute’s Science Film Festival for the December School Holiday Programme


Media images and interview requests, please contact:
Zikhona Jafta on 021 481 3838 or at


Join Iziko Museums this December school holiday for a fun-filled programme of events – brought to you in partnership with the Goethe Institute’s annual Science Film Festival. Under the theme of Humboldt and the Web of Life, the holiday programme runs from 9 until 13 December – with two sessions per day: from 10h00 until 12h00, and from 12h00 until 14h00

Designed for ages 9 to 16 years-old, each session will begin with a film screening in the TH Barry Lecture Theatre at the Iziko South African Museum (ISAM); followed by a hands-on activity. Participants will also enjoy an interpretive tour of ISAM exhibitions, culminating in a live theatrical performance by artists from South Africa Online. Each day of the programme will cover a new theme, which includes a Natural History Programme, a Planetarium Programme, an Art Programme and a Social History Programme. 

Booking is essential; please contact Wardah Harris at or on 021 481 3823 to reserve your spot. When booking, please indicate the session you are booking for; confirmation will be sent via email. Please bring a packed lunch.

About the theme

What has Alexander von Humboldt, who was born 250 years ago (1769 – 1659), to do with global climate change and sustainability today? Alexander von Humboldt revolutionised the conception of nature by scientifically approaching it as an interconnected living web – and in doing so, inspired countless scientists, environmentalists, writers and artists alike. On the 250 Year Anniversary of Humboldt’s birth, we need such a global perspective more today than ever: an appreciation that all things are connected and that harm caused in one place, always has implications elsewhere and for the whole. Perhaps these ideas can help to stimulate alternatives – whole-system thinking and the pursuit of endeavours that rejuvenate the natural world. Humboldt had respect for nature, for the wonder it contained, but also as the system in which we ourselves are an inseparable part.  

In a time when scientists are trying to understand and predict the global consequences of climate change, Humboldt’s interdisciplinary approach to science and nature is more relevant than ever. He refused to be tied to one discipline and insisted that all and everything was linked – humans, land clearing, plants, oceans, biodiversity, atmospheric changes, temperature, and so on. Humboldt’s nature was a global force. Time and again he examined the connections between nature and science, art and society, and has taken on a cosmopolitan perspective on the world as a whole. When nature is perceived as a web, its vulnerability also becomes obvious. Everything hangs together. If one thread is pulled, the whole tapestry might unravel.

The Science Film Festival 2019, in collaboration with the Iziko December School Holiday Programme, aims to illustrate the relevance of this complex approach to the 21st century, in particular for students and young people, and raise awareness of environmental issues, climate change and sustainability. 





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 the Goethe Institute’s Science Film Festival

The Science Film Festival is a celebration of science communication in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America: in cooperation with local partners it promotes science literacy and facilitates awareness of contemporary scientific, technological and environmental issues through international films with accompanying educational activities. The Science Film Festival presents scientific issues accessibly and entertainingly to a broad audience and demonstrates that science can be fun. The event has grown considerably since its first edition in 2005, becoming the largest event of its kind worldwide.

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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Dear Visitor

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