South African Museums Association Bulletin - latest Issue
Volumes & issues
Volume 38, Issue 10, 2016
The Second-Hand Goods Act as [in]capable guardian to address the trade in cultural property of questionable origin in South AfricaAuthor Bernadine BensonSource: South African Museums Association Bulletin 38, pp 1 –8 (2016)More Less
The theft and re-introduction of stolen heritage items from museums and galleries into the legal trade poses a significant challenge to law enforcement authorities in South Africa. The Second-Hand Goods Act 6 of 2009 came into operation in April 2012 and one of its primary purposes is to combat the ongoing crime of dealing in stolen property and its re-introduction into the legal market through dealers in second-hand goods. This paper will focus on this Act as a law enforcement tool with which to address property crimes such as theft and the receipt of stolen goods, with specific reference to cultural property. To this end, the relevant sections of Chapter I of the Second-Hand Goods Act will be discussed. The paper will also address here the deficiencies of those sections that pertain to the monitoring of dealers of heritage objects. The legislative inefficiency will be highlighted by means of a comparison with qualitative data collected from antique dealers and auctioneers specialising in heritage objects. Quantitative data that reflect trade between role players from 2006 - 2010 indicate that almost half of the role players in the market are private individuals who do not have to register in terms of the legislation. The registration of dealers who trade in second-hand goods is similarly problematic. In conclusion it will be demonstrated that sections of the Act will need to be revisited in order to investigate how amendments could enhance the competency of the Second-Hand Goods Act as the 'legal guardian' of stolen property, and as a means of reducing museum heritage crime. Based on the Routine Activities Theory, it can be argued that the Second-Hand Goods Act symbolises the 'guardian' of the goods, and in this case is deemed an incompetent and [in]capable guardian.
Herbaria and botanical gardens as tools for plant diversity, taxonomy and conservation education : a case study from the Albany Museum HerbariumSource: South African Museums Association Bulletin 38, pp 9 –15 (2016)More Less
The knowledge of plant diversity and taxonomy and how these are applied for conservation education is essential to maintain natural resources for future generations. Public awareness about biodiversity and the environment, as well as their importance for sustainable development is not widespread in South Africa. The South African school curriculum gives educators the freedom to expand basic concepts and to design and organise learning experiences according to their local circumstances and availability of resources. This paper advocates conservation education through the use of local herbaria and botanical gardens as a source of information using the Albany Museum Herbarium in Grahamstown as a case study.
Celebrating 60 years of the Freedom Charter : the identification of two signed copies of the Freedom Charter that forms part of the National EstateSource: South African Museums Association Bulletin 38, pp 16 –24 (2016)More Less
The Freedom Charter is a document of monumental historical and political significance in South Africa as it was a statement of core principles as a founding document of the South African Congress Alliance, which consisted of the African National Congress and its allies. It can be argued that the spirit and ethos of the Freedom Charter pervades the entire constitutional settlement that ended apartheid and brought into being a democratic post-apartheid South Africa. As a historical document that pioneered the call for a non-racial and democratic South Africa, the Freedom Charter is considered as one of the foundations of South Africa's constitution and its constitutional democracy. The Freedom Charter is also of international significance as it voiced the ideals of an oppressed people in their commitment to human dignity. Although it was adopted on 26 June 1955, there remains much debate as to how the final version was actually drawn up and who exactly the authors of the final Freedom Charter were. This deliberation was triggered by a permit application received by the South African Heritage Resources Agency to export a signed copy of the Freedom Charter. This matter became more pressing when the South African Heritage Resources Agency recognised that a signed copy of the Freedom Charter would be deemed a heritage object worthy of declaration. Therefore, research was carried out to establish the whereabouts of the original Freedom Charter, and whether or not such a historical document actually existed. This paper provides an overview of the issues that have emerged as a result of an export permit application for a copy of the Freedom Charter that is deemed to be of national significance. The process of investigation on the earliest copies of the Freedom Charter and the intention to protect the two known signed copies of the Freedom Charter as specifically declared heritage objects opened a range of important questions relating to the protection of objects deemed to be part of the National Estate.
Adapt or die : the dynamic and flexible role Freedom Park can play in a diverse and variable South AfricaAuthor Lauren MarxSource: South African Museums Association Bulletin 38, pp 25 –31 (2016)More Less
From its inception Freedom Park in Pretoria has distinguished itself from traditional South African museums and memorials with the vision to be a leading national and international icon of humanity and freedom that has served as a testament to the struggle against oppression of various forms, stemming from a pre-colonial era to the end of the liberation struggle in the early 1990s. After twenty years of democracy, memorialisation requires fresh and modern approaches to appeal to visitors from all walks of life, backgrounds, cultures and creeds. This is also closely linked to current debates and discourse of similarly themed museums, monuments and memorials that have since emerged after 1994. A brief background to Freedom Park is provided as a contextual overview, and it needs to remain dynamic and flexible to the demands of a changing political, economic and societal landscape in South Africa. This paper seeks to emphasise the uniqueness of Freedom Park by questioning how as a struggle site it can be relevant to all diverse societies and how the role of innovation and social responsibility are key factors for sustainability. It is demonstrated how Freedom Park can respond flexibly to changing society as well as to provide in the distinctive needs of visitors by offering a package that is different from that of other comparable sites. It is concluded that Freedom Park can adapt, remain sustainable and relevant in the future through focusing on and adopting practices to address the needs and requirements of our visitors.
Museums, communication and literacy : the education programme at the Iziko South African Museum, Cape TownAuthor Medee RallSource: South African Museums Association Bulletin 38, pp 32 –38 (2016)More Less
In post-apartheid South Africa museums have been challenged with the need to transform. This was done in various ways, in exhibition displays and education. Post 1994 one of the challenges facing the museum profession included a high illiteracy rate amongst adults in the country. The Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town took up this challenge by initiating and running an adult literacy programme using the museum displays. Since South Africa has a very high illiteracy rate, the museum was chosen as a site for teaching literacy, using the collections and displays as source material for teaching. In this paper the educational programmes and materials that were produced as part of this adult literacy programme are highlighted and discussed. Museums are primarily regarded as vital educational institutions and such museum education should be located within communication theory which has, over time, evolved from a transmission model of communication to one where the receiver of the message is no longer considered an empty vessel to be filled with information but is able to interpret the message that is communicated via prior knowledge. It is emphasised that museums are multimodal and that they communicate through objects, written texts, artefacts and images. As educational institutions they can be used creatively to further literacy education for adult learners.
Facilitating student engagement : the University of Pretoria Archives 'Century in the News' exhibition as a case studyAuthor Ria Van der MerweSource: South African Museums Association Bulletin 38, pp 39 –46 (2016)More Less
Although greater numbers of historically disadvantaged students have been registering at South African universities since the late 1980s, their rate of completion is considerably lower compared to other students. Universities are under increasing pressure to democratise in order to address racial-ethnic gaps in graduation rates and to take cognisance of the diverse needs of students from a range of cultural and social backgrounds, varying levels of education and academic potential. A solution to this problem adopted by universities world-wide is the establishment of learning communities, where students could receive additional support from the institutions where they are registered to ensure the successful completion of their degree. A key feature of most learning communities is their interdisciplinary and interactive approach to education in which they incorporate active and collaborative learning activities to engage students more effectively. When considering the type of education that is offered by archives and museums, namely a combination of active learning and personal meaning making, museums seem to be ideally placed to assist learning communities in integrating diverse academic and social activities into a meaningful whole in order to convert these experiences into authentic learning. This article will demonstrate, as a case study, how specifically the University of Pretoria Archives are used for orientation purposes in a degree programme by the Faculty of Engineering to its learning community, in order to help students acquire the additional background knowledge that may not have been available to them at school, and to develop a conceptual understanding of key concepts in their discipline which would enable them to complete their degrees successfully.
Museums and democratic education : how museums were transformed after the 1994 elections in South AfricaAuthor Sipho MdandaSource: South African Museums Association Bulletin 38, pp 47 –57 (2016)More Less
South Africa's heritage may be classified according to three main periods, namely colonial, apartheid and democratic. The beginning of democracy brought into discourse a new narrative imbued with reconciliation, social cohesion and nation building. This paper interrogates the process whereby the Government of National Unity opted to attempt to recontextualise and re-interpret previous colonial and apartheid monuments to include the narratives of Africans. Examples in this paper address the Anglo-Boer War Museum and the National Women's Monument in Bloemfontein as well as the Anglo-Boer War Memorial (Arch Angel Monument) at the Ditsong National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg. Against the backdrop of Legacy Projects, the periodisation and challenge of complex heritage narratives, and the gesture of assimilating old institution into new has been contested by various scholars. This paper further raises issues about whether the renaming of museums or 'filling the gaps' of monuments or memorials is the best way to achieve reconciliation, social cohesion and nation building.