Honouring those who ‘make museum relevant’

2014-03-10 00:00

MUSEUMS are custodians of history and artefacts and those that run them have an obligation to present this to the public.

That was the message from Dr Mlungisi Ngubane, director of the Msunduzi Museum, at the Our Friends in Heritage ceremony — held at the museum in Langalibalele Street, Pietermaritzburg, last Friday — to thank organisations and individuals for their valuable contribution to the museum’s collections.

“This event is about honouring the men and women whose vision and contributions have helped to make our museum relevant to future generations,” he explained.

Ngubane said that in line with the museum’s theme for 2014, “Museum collections make connections”, the Msunduzi Museum wanted to encourage people to make donations of both oral history and objects to the museum.

“A lot more needs to be done in historically disadvantaged communities to get them to come forward with information and artefacts,” he added.

Guest speaker Dr Kogie Archary, chairperson of the South African Reach-out Initiative Foundation, underlined the need to preserve history in her talk, during which she shared items from her own personal collection, including a framed ANC election poster with an image of Nelson Mandela from 1994.

Speaking to pupils from Longmarket Girls’ School, Primêre Skool Gert Maritz, St Nicholas Diocesan School and Northern Park Primary School — all of whom gave presentations during the event — she encouraged them to speak to their grandparents to get as much information as possible about their heritage before it was too late.

“Their history, our history, has not been recorded,” Archary, who is also involved with the 1860 Indentured Labourers Foundation, the Ithembalethu Community Organisation and the Oral History Association of South Africa, added.

Certificates of appreciation were then handed to The Witness, Maritzburg Fever, Maritzburg Sun, Longmarket Girls’ School, Heather Pienaar, The Midlands Quilters Guild, St Matthew’s Quilters Guild, Glen Flanagan, Alan Botha, Mr Bhamjee, the Sports Veterans Association, Chief S.E. Mdluli and the Sri Siva Soobramaniar and Mariamman temples.

Guests were also entertained by young musicians from the Music Voyage project in Nottingham Road. Established in 2009, Music Voyage works with children from historically disadvantaged areas and teaches them to write and play music and to take recognised examinations. They performed Die Alibama, Miriam Makeba’s famous Click Song/Qongqothwane, the nursery rhyme London’s Burning and the Zulu lullaby Thula Baba.

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