Join Iziko Museums in celebrating Human Rights Day

The Singing Freedom exhibition can be see at the Iziko Slave Lodge Museum.

Commemorate and celebrate Human Rights Day on Monday March 21 with free entry to select Iziko Museums and take part in a youth discussion co-ordinated by Iziko’s Public Programmes division.

Under the theme “The Year of Unity and Renewal: Protecting and Preserving our Human Rights Gains”, the discussion will investigate the meaning of human rights through the lens of South African youth, and will touch on Iziko Slave Lodge exhibitions, Singing Freedom and Aluta Continua.

One of the exhibits on display as part of the Aluta Continua exhibition at the Iziko Slave Lodge Museum.

Affirming the contemporary role museums play in deepening a human rights culture, this year’s commemoration of Human Rights Day finds its strength in continuing to highlight the notion from human wrongs to human rights – where Iziko seeks to create spaces of engagement through platforms for dialogue and discussion, and the promotion of tolerance and understanding.

“Must-see” exhibitions currently on show at Iziko, and especially in relation to human rights, include the renewed slavery exhibition spaces at the Iziko Slave Lodge. Here, the exhibition narrative has been rewritten to give greater recognition to the presence of women and children, in order to acknowledge their agency and to highlight both positive and negative legacies and afterlives of slavery.

This space is a representation of many truths in a traumatic and complex history of slavery and dispossession as it impacted on the lives of most black South Africans.

At the Iziko South African National Gallery, a video installation by Buhlebezwe Siwani, titled amaHubo, interrogates the historical associations between African spiritual beliefs and cosmologies, and Christianity. Centring the role of land and black women (and their positionality) within spiritual practices and institutions, amaHubo invites us to reflect deeply on the challenges of rootedness, devotion and healing in our society.

On show at the Iziko South African Museum, Talking Heads and Heritage: in conversation with the Lydenburg Heads, celebrates one of South Africa’s most treasured archaeological finds – the Lydenburg Heads – while how diverse and changing cultures celebrate their rites of passage, and how we might learn from one another.

A commemorative day born from the March 21 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.

Iziko Museums are now open between 9am and 5pm. For more information, visit:

• Free entry excludes the Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome, the Castle of Good Hope, and Groot Constantia, as well as museum sites currently closed due to renovations and repairs.