Shedding light on our cultural heritage

2010-03-11 00:00

THE Witness Pietermaritzburg Museum­ Passport Project profiles continue today with a look at the Voortrekker/Msunduzi Museum, where exciting changes have taken place.

Previously focused on Voortrekker history, the museum in Langalibalele (Longmarket) Street now depicts the cultural heritage of most of the major population groups of KwaZulu-Natal.

Its main building houses a variety of cultural history exhibitions, supplemented by a small Hindu temple, a traditional Zulu home and a herb garden.

Voortrekker history is displayed at the Voortrekker complex, which includes the Church of the Vow, Andries Pretorius House and the E. G. Jansen Extension. The Anglo Boer War is highlighted at Voortrekker House at 333 Boom Street.

The museum currently cares for an extensive collection of Voortrekker items, and is busy collecting cultural and historical items from all the other major cultural groups. Also administered by the museum is the Ncome Museum, Nqutu, which offers a Zulu perspective to the 1838 Voortrekker-Zulu confrontation at Ncome-Blood River. Located on the banks of the river­, it faces the battle site as well as the Voortrekker Blood River monument. The building was designed in the shape of buffalo horns, which was the formation in which the Zulu army traditionally attacked.

The Voortrekker/Msunduzi Museum offers a variety of cultural events, as well as craft and herbal workshops to the local community. Crafts are sold at the Voortrekker/Msunduzi Museum morning markets on the last Saturday­ of every month. Plans are also under way to have a traditional Zulu potter working on-site during June and July to coincide with the World Cup. Members of the public will be able to attend classes during this time.

This year the museum will host its seventh annual quilt display from March 16 to 25. Usually this involves the work of local quilters, but this year the African Pizzazz Travelling Quilt Exhibition will be featured.

Another forthcoming event is a short conference titled Remembering the Political Violence of KwaZulu- Natal­ 1987-1994, which will be held at the museum on March 25.

The Voortrekker/Msunduzi Museum is open from 9 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am to 1 pm on Saturday­.

Inquiries: 033 394 6835.

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