Close this search box.
Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Join Iziko Museums of South Africa in commemorating Emancipation and World AIDS Day

Iziko Museums of South Africa

With *free entry to selected museums



Media images and interview requests, please contact: Zikhona Jafta at

On Tuesday, 1 December 2020, Iziko Museums of South Africa will be commemorating Emancipation and World AIDS Day – celebrating both the abolishment of slavery and the worldwide efforts made to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

As part of this commemoration, Iziko is hosting a virtual discussion via Zoom at 13h00, with guest speaker Patric Tariq Mellet. The discussion will reflect on the abolishment of the slave trade in 1834, and what this historic milestone continues to mean for society today. Follow the Zoom link to participate:

Also 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. 

Unshackled History: The Wreck of the Slave Ship, São José, 1794, possibly represents the first known shipwreck with enslaved Africans on board to be identified, studied and excavated. The exhibition, narrates the story of “human cargo” – the people who were violently taken from their homes in Mozambique, to suffer displacement, disaster and death on the shores of the Cape of Good Hope more than 200 years ago.

Also showcased at the Iziko Slave Lodge, Under Cover of Darkness highlights the lives of twelve enslaved women in an attempt to stand in for the many stories, never told, of women forced into slavery and oppressive labour under colonialism. These stories intend to show a range of experiences and circumstances of the lives of women under the yoke of colonialism – among them, women who lived and died in servitude, and those who managed to gain their freedom.  

Exhibitions such as these seek to challenge institutional narratives and bring accounts of oppression to the fore. As spaces of heritage, museums are an important social conduit for educating people about societal issues, stimulating active citizenship, and acting as catalysts for social change. Now, more than ever before, museums can offer a sense of community; through our exhibitions, research, and commemorative days – Iziko casts an eye on the resilience of the human spirit, and come to be a space where we feel connected to each other. After all, Our Museums are Your Museums.

Visit selected Iziko museums for *FREE! As part of the COVID19 prevention and safeguarding of visitors, all museums have capacity limitations in order to ensure appropriate social distancing and cleaning. 

The Iziko South African Museum, the Iziko South African National Gallery and the Iziko Slave Lodge have two timed entry sessions – from 10h00 until 12h00, and from 12h30 until 14h30. The Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum and the Iziko Maritime Centre have four one-hour sessions starting at 10h00, 11h15, 12h30, and 13h45. Please arrive fifteen minutes before your session begins, so we can swiftly screen you before entering. This includes taking your temperature, receiving your details and accepting payment. Entry will not be permitted without a mask.

In welcoming you back, your health and safety, and that of our staff, is of utmost importance. Thank you for all your efforts in maintaining social distancing to keep both yourself and us safe. We’re so thrilled to welcome you back!

*Free entry includes Iziko South African Museum, Iziko South African National Gallery, Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum, Iziko Maritime Centre and the Iziko Slave Lodge. 

About Emancipation and World AIDS Day

1 December 1834 marked the commemoration of the abolishment of the slave trade. It was first established after the British Parliament passed the Slave Emancipation Act in 1833, banning its policy of enslaving and transporting Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Islands. In remembering this history, we revisit the tragedy of ancestral loss and dislocation, and give voice to those silenced. 

Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day became the first ever global health day commemoration. It takes place on 1 December each year and presents an opportunity for people across the world to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for those living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. In line with the current focus on the COVID19 pandemic and its effect on health, lives and livelihoods, the theme for the 2020 observance is Global solidarity, shared responsibility. The COVID19 crisis has been a wake-up call and comes as an opportunity to do things differently, where we can work better, and together. 


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.

Close this search box.


Exhibitions & Events

Inside Iziko

Iziko Museums


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.