2017 was a challenging but successful year for Iziko. Notably, Iziko received an unqualified report from the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) – an indication that the institution is well managed from governance, financial and performance perspectives.
The Iziko Museums Council and I extend a sincere thank you to our partners and sponsors, and our visiting public for their commitment and loyalty to this organisation over the past year that have contributed to our achievements and we look forward to building on these relationships in 2018.
A key achievement was the opening of the Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome in May 2017, through the generosity of our funders and committed partners, who worked tirelessly with us to realise this long-held vision. The new Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome facility is said to be among the top 10 in the world, providing state-of-the-art edu-tainment for our public and learners. In addition, it is also a unique e-research resource, which is a gateway for knowledge creation, data analysis and creative endeavours for scientists and artists alike.
Significantly, over the past year, Iziko also set important national precedents for museums and artistic practice in South Africa by successfully defending litigations against our institution that challenged rights enshrined in our constitution. We are proud to have secured landmark rulings that protect freedom of expression. Iziko Museums of South Africa firmly believes that freedom of speech is the foundation of our communities and our nation. It is an essential part of Iziko’s mandate to engage with, and provide a platform for dialogue around pivotal but often controversial issues such as race, gender, diversity, history, the challenges faced by contemporary society, and the environment. We strive to create a space in our museums for these matters to be explored and understood more deeply, promoting increased awareness and tolerance.
Going forward in 2018, Iziko will continue to build African museums of excellence that enhance the evolution of our democracy, support social and economic development, and promote active citizenship.
On behalf of the Iziko Museums Council and Management, I wish you, your loved ones and friends a Happy New Year.
– Rooksana Omar, CEO, Iziko Museums of South Africa