Bartolomeu Dias Museum celebrates its 30th birthday | Western Cape Government



Bartolomeu Dias Museum celebrates its 30th birthday

6 February 2019

On Saturday, 2 February 2019, the Bartolomeu Dias Museum celebrated its 30th birthday, almost 531 years to the day after the Portuguese explorer first set foot on South African soil.

The birthday celebrations took place at the museum in Mossel Bay, where Dias first landed on 3 February 1488.

Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, was the keynote speaker at the event. Mossel Bay mayor, Alderman Harry Levendal, Port of Mossel Bay manager Shadrack Tshikalange and Portuguese Consul General Jose Carlos Reis Arsenio also gave speeches.

The museum was officially opened on 3 February 1989 after initially being founded as the Mossel Bay Museum in the 1960s. 

The facility currently features an ethno-Botanical Garden, shell museum, aquarium, life-size replica of the Dias Caravel and the famous 500-year-old Post Office Tree, amongst other important historical sites and artefacts.

The milkwood tree is a national monument and is regarded as the first post office in South Africa. Its significance and name stem from the message which was left hanging in a metal boot on one of its branches in the year 1500, by one of the many Portuguese explorers to visit the location. 

On Saturday Minister Marais was on hand to cut the birthday cake, which was shaped as a boot to symbolise that moment in history. The 370 guests were also entertained by the Outeniqua Band on arrival, a jazz band and traditional Portuguese dancers.

Media Enquiries: 

Dr Tania Colyn
Head of Communication Service
Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport
Tel: 021 483 9877 / 076 093 4913