81st SAMA Conference Explores Our Multi-Layered History
On 24 October 2017 the Western Cape Minister for Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, officiated at the 81st South African Museums Association (SAMA) Conference in Bellville.
The 2017 theme “Museums and Contested Histories: Saying the Unspeakable in Museums” guarantees a profound exchange of ideas between museum and heritage experts, academics, enthusiasts and learners. The conference is hosted annually and is scheduled to take place from 23 to 26 October 2017 in the Auditorium of the Sanlam Head Office.
Chairperson of the SAMA Western Cape Regional Committee, Commander Leon Steyn, welcomed attendees at the official opening of the conference and pointed out the importance of remaining open and receptive to the investigation and re-interpretation of our past.
Minister Marais stated that the more than 120 museums in the Western Cape is proof of our unique and rich heritage landscape. “Museums are uniquely positioned to bring people together, to build national pride and to bring restoration and healing”, she said. The Minister’s complete speech is available online.
The keynote address by Dr Ciraj Rassool, who is a professor in the Department of History at the University of the Western Cape, focussed on the transformation of museums in the 21st century. Dr Rasool quoted UNESCO’s Director General Irina Bokova in his address: “Museums are cutting-edge laboratories of our shared humanity – to protect our heritage, to catalyse new creativity, to help us capture the complexity of our world,” he said. Other stimulating conversations are to explore the desire for the reburial of human remains, history that hurts, the repatriation of cultural objects and case studies of land reform. Delegates will also be exposed to interactive educational excursions to memorial landscapes such as the Kramat of Sheikh Yusuf, Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, Prestwich Memorial Visitor Centre, Simon’s Town and SA Naval Museums and the first Holocaust Centre in Africa.
DCAS Chief Director for Cultural Affairs, Guy Redman, and Director for Museums, Heritage and Geographical Names, Mxolisi Dlamuka, will be facilitating some of the panel discussions. DCAS Regional Manager for Cape Metro and West Coast Museums, Dr Helene Vollgraaff, has been nominated as the next SAMA Vice-President. Regina Jansen van Vuuren will succeed Mr Netshiavha as President.
DCAS is committed to preserving our multi-layered history. Let us continue to invest in the relevance of our diverse heritage landscape BETTER TOGETHER.