This is an open letter to Mr. Cecil Nongane and his Board of Trustees of the Albany History Museum (formerly the 1820 Settlers museum).
As an earlier citizen of Grahamstown I recently traced my tracks to share some of my joyful childhood years with my wife. The visit to the town was pleasant, only for me to be seriously disappointed by our visit to the Albany History Museum. All the positivity of our trip was undone.
This museum, which used to be dedicated to the severe challenges and also the creativity of the 1820 settlers has been destroyed. The museum is now a symbol of the destruction brought on this country by the current ANC establishment and the oh-so politically correct persons who appear too cowardly to speak out against the decay. The subject museum use to be one of the best museums of inspiration in South Africa. It was a living symbol of people who found themselves in terrible circumstances, yet they rose and built a future for themselves, their offspring and the country as a whole.
Obviously, that message is not something that the current establishment and your board wish to portray.
Given my previous exposure and pride of that museum, I am now terribly disappointed. The displays have been largely removed. The currently refocused-, low quality-, politically correct (sic) displays, have destroyed the greatness and wonder of the museum.
I experience it as a reflection of the decay we are now experiencing in this country.
I made a point of talking to another visitor to the museum. Their experience and disappointment is the same as mine.
I asked to speak with the curator. Even though not directly expressed, I also sensed similar disappointment with the curator. Words like ‘they stripped the displays’ were used.
I am not sure who ‘they’ are, therefore I am addressing this letter to your board of trustees.
Please, as trustees, you cannot destroy the past and try to reflect some sinister agenda. Rather, please add any previously neglected history to the content of your museum. But be honest.
According to your organization’s own Mission, you wish to “contribute to nation building” and “nurture as society to be aware of their past”.
Please do precisely that, be honest, and we will all be happier to visit your museum and live happier in this country.
As for now, I am extremely disappointed in what I found in your museum. It is a museum which appears to be a victim of your agenda of denial. A visit to the museum is a waste of time. Any serious visitor to that museum is being robbed by your board.
It is so sad to think that academics of such a proud university (Rhodes) are willing to serve on your board and be willing to associate with such a situation.