International Museum Day Celebrated at Lwandle Museum
What role can museums play in society in a time of accelerating change, particularly for the youth? Learners from four schools debated this issue during a visit to the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum in Strand. They also found out about the rich history of migrants under apartheid. This was one of a series of community events held at Western Cape museums in honour of International Museum Day on 18 May 2012.
About 30 learners and educators from Hottentots Holland High School in Somerset West, Rusthof Secondary in Strand and Lwandle's Khanyowethu and Simanyene secondary schools gathered at the museum. Two learners from each school participated in a social dialogue around issues affecting the youth, including climate change, new media and social responsibility. Mr Mxolisi Dlamuka, Deputy Director of Museum Services at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), said that he was pleased to see learners from different backgrounds interacting with each other and exchanging their views in a spirit of tolerance, respect and ubuntu.
The Lwandle Museum brings recognition to the contribution that migrant labourers have made to the Western Cape. Learners were taken on a guided tour of Hostel 33, which has been preserved to honour the memory of migrant labourers under apartheid. Provincial Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport Dr Ivan Meyer stressed the relevance of museums for the youth and for society as a whole. "People love history," he said, "but museums are more than just history; the stories of the migrants here are significant to the locals." Dr Meyer expressed the hope that keen learners would consider a career in the heritage and museum sector.
Entrance to Western Cape museums was free on this international day to encourage the building of an inclusive society in the Western Cape.