The South African Jewish Museum and the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum: Serving different publics in two community museums in the Western Cape
Buthelezi, Vincent Vusi
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The 1990s came with many changes and developments in South Africa, especially in the political and social lives of people and their public institutions. The concept of transformation and transition became a household word, from red-carpeted parliamentary corridors to tiny gravel township streets and villages in rural communities. Two community museums emerged in the Western Cape cultural and heritage landscape in response to these political changes: the South African Jewish Museum and the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum. The extensively revamped South African Jewish Museum, which opened its doors in 1997, is situated in centre of the city of Cape Town (which under apartheid was designated as a white area). It is accommodated in the one of the oldest buildings in South Africa, the original building of the first SA Jewish synagogue built in 1862. The building has been extended, added to and extensively refurbished. The Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum is an entirely new institution in the post apartheid democratic South Africa. It is situated in a township forty kilometers from the Cape Town city centre. During the days of apartheid Lwandle township was designated as a place for black male hostel dwellers. The museum is accommodated in an old community hall, which was once a hostel dwellers recreational hall.
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