Museum’s coming of age

2018-05-03 06:02
Masa Soko (left), the manager of Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, assists founder Charmian Plummer with the cutting of the museum’s 18th birthday cake at a celebration on Workers’ Day (Tuesday 1 May). PHOTO: mzwanele mkalipi

Masa Soko (left), the manager of Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, assists founder Charmian Plummer with the cutting of the museum’s 18th birthday cake at a celebration on Workers’ Day (Tuesday 1 May). PHOTO: mzwanele mkalipi

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The Lwandle Migrants Labour Museum celebrated its 18th birthday on Tuesday 1 May.

The celebration, dubbed the coming of age of the museum, saw residents of the area and its surrounds enjoying cake, drinks and sharing their knowledge of the museum.

The site of the museum was used as a community hall before its reincarnation for the sake of keeping the history of Lwandle, specifically its hostels, and other areas alive.

The museum recently hosted an exhibition on the infamous forced removals from Siyanyanzela Informal Settlement. Works which form part of the exhibition still adorns its walls.

Youths from Lwandle were also given an opportunity to share their thoughts on the museum and offer suggestions of what they would like to see in it.

While others felt the museum had little space and needed more buildings to accommodate everyone, others felt the history of Nomzamo and Asanda Village needed to be reflected at the museum too.

The museum is a tourist attraction, which is also used by the Kuyakhanya Drama Group for practise sessions and performances.

Museum manager Masa Soko told those gathered for the celebration that the event aimed to celebrate the journey of the museum over the last 18 years.

“The museum is no longer a child,” she joked. “We know that in this country, when one turns 18, you are recognised as an adult and you are expected to conduct yourself as such. We promise to do so with the museum as well.”

Soko urged locals to share ideas about how they could improve on the museum’s offerings and described the institution as a source of history for the Strand area, adding that it has also built relationships with an international audience.

Charmian Plummer, founder of the museum, was also in attendance and shared a brief history on how the museum came into being.

She had been working in Lwandle since 1989 and the museum was opened seven years later, she related.

“When we wanted to start the museum, it was a struggle as we had nothing,” Plummer recalled.

“Back then, the community leaders didn’t take too well to the idea of taking their community hall over as a museum.

“Remember, in those days we had nothing in this area, but gradually things started changing.”

Plummer further urged residents to take care of the museum as it played a huge role in forming and preserving the history and heritage of the greater Lwandle area.

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