Visiting the Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa

Visiting the Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa

If you don’t understand the horrid history of South Africa, then a trip to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg is a must when visiting the country. I knew a bit about it, but going to the museum added a lot of details, facts and stories to my knowledge of the black and white divide in South Africa. It’s a totally excellent museum, and contains a permanent Nelson Mandela Exhibition as well. The day before I had actually visited Nelson Mandela’s former house in Soweto, South Africa.

The drive there was from Soweto where I was staying. Herbert my crazy driving German friend took us there. He often drove on the wrong side of the road! You can read more of Herbert’s antics here: Herbert Goes bananas.

A photo from Herbert’s hire car as we arrived at the Apartheid Museum, also in an area with some large Casinos.

Black and white words on the wall by the entrance to the museum.

It wasn’t too busy when we went. A lonely bus and a few cars was all the vehicles in the main car park.

Entrance to the museum makes a mockery of the old system. I went in the Whites door. Sad that this is the way the country was once segregated.

Europeans Only this bench read. So what about a black European then? The odd lack of knowledge and integrity within Apartheid.

This black guy wanted to follow the pretty white girl in the white entrance. He should have done. Fuck this segregation shit!

Following the crowd, the most of whom were white into the whites turnstile for the entrance. On arrival on the other side, both skin colours end up in the same place.

I was classified as a white adult. If you are black your ticket is black.

My white ticket. I loved the way the museum took the piss out of the ridiculous Apartheid regime. Proof they are through it and can laugh at the ridiculous nature of the horrific regime.

How wrong they were. Thank God.

Stories like this are all over the museum, I spend a good few hours inside reading them all.

Can you believe they even segregated the railway lines. Giving the non white citizens the worst conditions, not just on the train, but the location of the train stations, the state of the toilets etc.

A few stories from black and white people from various backgrounds in South Africa, mostly from the area near to Johannesburg.

The museum is well outside the busy city of Johannesburg. This is the view from the back into fields, countryside and in the distance the skyscraping madness of Joburg!

Johannesburg, as viewed from the Apartheid Museum.

The University options were obviously limited for black South Africans. Nelson Mandela saw through it all, educating himself and working his way to the top, despite a lengthy prison sentence.

Nelson Mandela had respect for the ways of British culture, despite the fact that many ex Brits and Dutch were to blame for the history and lead up to Apartheid and separatism within South Africa. Interesting his quote about the Houses of Parliament too.

The famous Free Mandela t-shirts. These made me chuckle and laugh at an old episode of Only Fools and Horses where Del Boy ended up with a consignment of these type of t-shirts and couldn’t sell them. Hardly surprising given that he received the t-shirts after Nelson Mandela had been released from prison. Some irony too, in that during the hit TV sitcom, he lived at…Nelson Mandela House!

A moment I remembered from a teenager, when in 1995 South Africa won the rugby World Cup. A white dominated sport traditionally, Mandela donned a South Africa rugby shirt and joined the team on the field. One team, one country. A famous moment that brought whites and blacks together in sporting nationalism and pride.

I had to write some comments. I was moved by it all. Photos and videos were not permitted in most of the museum, hence there aren’t too many on this post. The best way to learn about it all is to read about, watch some documentaries and visit South Africa. Until I went there, my knowledge and understanding of the whole Apartheid era was very poor. I gained a lot from my stay in South Africa (I visited, and stayed in Johannesburg, Soweto, Durban and Pretoria)

Nelson Mandela was a many famous for his moving quotes. A list of quotes were on the wall and you choose the quotes you liked the most, then pick a corresponding stick and place it in the Mandela Garden.

Place your sticks here in the Mandela Garden.

I chose these three quotes as my favourites, especially liked the last one.

My sticks were yellow therefore and I put them in.

Coloured sticks in Nelson Mandela Garden.

Photos were banned, especially in the Nelson Mandela Permanent Exhibition. I respected this for the most part but couldn’t help but take a photo of the car Mandela was in when he got out of prison. A red Mercedes with his initials NRM on it.

A sad reminder of a flag which is even slightly racist or un-inclusive. Some people won’t agree, but many don’t like this flag. The former flag of South Africa. Based on Dutch and British invasion.

What a lonely prison cell would have looked like, for Nelson Mandela.

You can get inside one of the old South African army vehicles. I hopped inside. These were used during the Soweto uprising and many riots through the 1970s and 1980s.

A view from a real armoured truck, smashed during rioting.

A South African armoured truck – different to those Meat Wagons seen in and around Belfast.

The voting slip for the first elections post Apartheid. A long list of candidates, the stand out one was Nelson Mandela.

Voting booth, post-Apartheid.

And the brand new flag. A sign of the times. Unity, not division. Equality for all in South Africa. The situation has improved dramatically post-Apartheid. But there is still a long way to go before this becomes a safe, prosperous and fully inclusive nation.

A hat trick of important words for the future of South Africa. Fuck the past, kiss the future.

Souvenir magnets such as these were on sale in the shop. I only bought my brother a postcard in there. again photos were not allowed. After a few hours then, it was time to move on and leave behind the Apartheid Museum. It is definitely worth a visit and I will not bore you with more historical facts other than saying this museum shows that people in South Africa lived two completely different lifestyles under Apartheid era based solely on skin colour.

What – Apartheid Museum

Where – Corner Northern Parkway and Gold Reef Roads, Ormonde, Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA

Admission Fee – Adults 60 Rand, Students, Children, Pensioners 45 Rand

Who Went – Jonny Blair, Herbert Fertl

Transport Used – Herbert’s Hire Car (A silver Chevrolet Spark Lite)

Key Songs – 

MANIC STREET PREACHERS – BABY ELIAN (“down the other divide where black will nevermeet white”):

MICHAEL JACKSON – BLACK OR WHITE (it just has to be again – full video version this time)

Videos were not permitted inside the museum itself, so I took only these two, one of the outdoor Nelson Mandela Tribute and one of the short documentary on the TV –



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