Museum Times

Museum Times

Changing Histories in South Africa

Leslie Witz


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Museums flourished in post-apartheid South Africa. In older museums, there were renovations on the go, and at least fifty new museums opened. Most sought to depict violence and suffering under apartheid and the growth of resistance. These unlikely journeys are tracked as museums became a primary setting for contesting histories. From the renowned Robben Island Museum to the almost unknown Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, the author demonstrates how an institution concerned with the conservation of the past is simultaneously a site for changing history.


Leslie Witz:

Leslie Witz is a professor in the Department of History at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. He teaches African history and public history, and his research focuses on how different histories are created and represented in the public domain. Publications include Apartheid’s Festival; Hostels, Homes Museum (with Noëleen Murray); and Unsettled History (with Ciraj Rassool and Gary Minkley).