27 September 2010

Visit to Richmond House 18 Sept 2010

Parts (inc flagpole) of the original Cock's Castle used for Richmond House museum
The painting of Cock's Castle in 1920s.
The original lamppost of Cock's Castle & extract from family Bible
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22 September 2010

Museum conquers Grahamstown airwaves

By: Zongezile Matshoba

Albany Museum used the Heritage Month to gunner home its dominance around Grahamstown. Nozipho Madinda, the Museum's Mobile Museum Services Head took along the four learners that are going to Robben Island Museum's Isivivane Solwazi Spring School. They joined DJ Luvo on his weekly Afternoon Drive Time Show (15h00 - 18h00) on Tuesday to tell the listeners of Grahamstown FM Community Radio how they feel about their trip, and what they hope to learn and see.

Phumlani Cimi, the Museum Botanist, has been the guest of Kwanele Butana who runs a traditional programme every Saturdays from 13h00 - 14h00. He shared the value of the Herbarium, and how it identifies every plant's usefulness and danger. The Herbarium has over 200 000 specimen. Cimi, who specialises on indeginous plants, has also developed a recipe book on nutrious indigenous plant for the blind.

20 September 2010

Young Grahamstonians off to Robben Island

By: Zongezile Matshoba

Albany Museum has been invited to send four learners and one staff member to the Robben Island Museum’s Isivivane Solwazi 2010 Spring School Nation Building Camp. Nozipho Madinda, the Head of Mobile Museum Services will be leading the delegation consisting of four learners from the farm and urban areas. The learners are Asiphe Stoffel, 15, from Farmerfield, Bill Jokani, 18 from Nombulelo SSS, Luthando Dyan, 14 from Wilson’s Party Farm School, Sibabalwa Quma, 17 from VG High School. The Spring School is from the 24 September to 03 October 2010.

The learners will be privileged to learn more about Robben Island from the ex-political prisoners. They will have to engage their peers around the theme:

“Resistance and Resilience of the Human Spirit against the Forces of Evil - Africa Unite & Fight Xenophobia”.

The learners have two pre-tasks that they have to work on. Firstly, they have to conduct research in their community on Xenophobia. This will help in knowing what their communities say, feel and think about xenophobia, and how it can be stopped.

Secondly, they have to bring along a cultural or traditional attire. They need to find out what their special attire says about them and their immediate community, when is it worn, by whom and why is it important to them or their community. This will be an opportunity for the learner to celebrate and introduce their culture to their peers from South Africa and Namibia.

During their time on the island the journey will take the participants through the layered history of Robben Island, which are banishment, hardship, isolation and imprisonment interwoven with resistance, resilience, tolerance and the triumph of the human spirit over hardship.

Science learners test water

By: Zongezile Matshoba

Dr Jim Cambray of the Ichythyology Department at Albany Museum celebrated the World Water Monitoring Day on 18 September 2010 with Khanya Maths and Science Club. The club is a joint project by Rhodes University’s Chemistry Department under Joyce Sewry, and Albany Museum’s Nozipho Madinda of the Mobile Museum Services.

The group went for an outing, testing the spring water just outside Grahamstown first, before moving further to the Blaaukrantz River.

Recent reports have indicated that the spring water is a free, God-given gift one would find throughout the Makana Municipality following the recent media reports. People bring buckets and lots of containers every day, and there are long queues especially on weekends.

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09 September 2010

Lwandle is Museum of the Year in the Western Cape
Category: General News
Posted on January 25, 2010

The Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, the first and only museum in a Western Cape township, has been named as the Museum of the Year for 2009 by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport.

This is a museum which, despite recurring financial crises and constant threats of closure, has through its committed staff and board, built an institution which has redefined the traditional role and immediate tasks of a museum. It has made a substantial contribution in turning a place which under apartheid was only officially recognized as a place of hostels for male migrant labourers into a community.

Moreover, through developing relationships with organizations, like the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, the South African Heritage Resources Agency, the District Six Museum and the Robben Island Museum, it has played a substantive role in creating, promoting and sustaining important and structured relationships across communities in the Western Cape through an emphasis on programmes that draw upon the youth seeking to recover memories of lives under apartheid from their elders.

The museum deliberately rejects apartheid notions of community, where these are based upon racial and/or ethnic identities. Instead it seeks to establish the spatial configuration of Lwandle and all its residents as its immediate community. This is evident in all its exhibitions, particularly its permanent exhibition Iimbali zeKhaya (Stories of Home).

All the museum’s exhibitions have been central in establishing a history of Lwandle and its residents as a community with a distinct heritage that affirms a past in struggles against the foundations of the apartheid system.

In 2009 two very important projects of heritage preservation were central to the work of the museum. The first involves preserving one hostel, Hostel 33, as a visual reminder of the migrant labour system that was the basis for the formation of Lwandle.

In 2009 plans to develop the Hostel 33 took a massive step forward when the museum, in an international competition, was the recipient of a funding award from the US Ambassador’s Cultural Preservation Fund. The museum is now in the process of developing plans, in consultation with community members, around how to preserve and restore the hostel so that it serves as a memorial to the migrant labour system. The National Heritage Council and the National Lotteries Board have also allocated funds for this project.

The second major project of heritage preservation has been a series of oral history projects that the museum has run over the past few years in collaboration with the District Six Museum, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation and schools in the area. An important outcome of this project in 2009 was the publication of a book by the museum and the IJR entitled Community on the Move. It provides a resource for schools and communities around how to develop oral history projects that are linked to artistic production, photography and performance.

There are many other ways that the museum has built and developed communities in Lwandle, in the Western Cape, South Africa and internationally. It supports and contributes substantially to the Cape Town Memory Project and the Oral History Association of South Africa. It has strong working relationships with academic departments at universities such as the History Department at the University of the Western Cape, and the Center for the Study of Public Scholarship at Emory University in Atlanta, and, has begun to developing strong linkages with museums and heritage organisations with similar interests in Africa, Australia and North America.

Whilst many have theorized about the role which museums can play in creating social cohesion, at once challenging age-old racist identities and stereotypes and concentrating on the affirmation of the complexities of identity and the very notion of community, the Lwandle Museum has through its experiential approach, innovative leadership and involved governance structures created an exciting example of the potential impact of museums within local, national and international community life.

Contact Details:Lunga Smile, Museum manager and curatorThe Lwandle Migrant Labour MuseumOld Community Hall, Vulindlela Street, Lwandle, 7143Tel: 0218456119E-mail: lwandlemus@tiscali.co.za

SOURCE: www.archivalplatform.org

08 September 2010

Mines must take 'prime responsibility' for acid drainage
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Tainted water gushes out of the earth and a pipe, just outside Rand Uranium property on Johannesburg's West Rand. The water, stained orange, like Rooibos tea, collects in a pool before flowing into the Tweelopiespruit.

SA's mining legacyAcid mine drainage (AMD) water cannot be used for agriculture, you can't drink it and you can't bath in it. It contaminates clean underground water and will eventually escalate the cost of water. Watch our video to see AMD'S impact on the environment.
More videosThis is acid mine drainage (AMD), also termed "yellow-boy", which seeps to the surface on the West Rand.Johannesburg, the largest economy of any metropolitan region in sub-Saharan Africa, sprung up after a gold reef was accidentally discovered in 1886.According to the city of Johannesburg's website, within 10 years there was a fully fledged town on the same spot, and within 30 years it was South Africa's largest city.Mining companies have come and gone, leaving mines abandoned and disused to collect water. Underground water must be pumped out continually for mining to continue otherwise the water flows over the rocks and becomes toxic.Mariette Liefferink, an environmental activist and chief executive of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, a non-governmental organisation, is determined to put AMD on the agenda.She offers site visits to show the damage caused by Johannesburg's AMD problem.Wearing a green kimono, beige high heels and matching jewellery, Liefferink is unafraid to get her hands and toes dirty to show the extent of the problem.Acid drainage mine water not just on surface"An unqualified volume of it [AMD] flows underground," Liefferink told a group of concerned members of the public and journalists.

"They have not reconstructed what it looks like underground, so there is insufficient information on the volume, but what we do know is that some of it ends up in our river systems."Marius Keet -- the Department of Water Affairs's deputy director of water-quality management -- told Parliament in July this year that the toxic water was rising at a rate of between 0,6m and 0,9m a day in the central basin of the Witwatersrand Goldfields.According to the Department of Water Affairs, acid mine drainage arises when sulphate-bearing minerals are exposed to oxygen. This is termed pyrite oxidation, and is enhanced when water moves through and over the surfaces of acid-bearing rock.The water has a low pH (sometimes as low as 2,2), a high number of dissolved solids, high levels of sulphates and heavy metals, particularly iron, manganese, nickel and/or cobalt.The department said the heavy metals, low pH and high salt levels pose a "risk to human health and to the integrity of the aquatic ecosystems".According to independent environmental consultant Pieter Colyn, "acid mine drainage cannot be used for agriculture, you can't drink it and you can't bath in it. It contaminates clean underground water and will eventually escalate the cost of water."Acidic damNothing stirs the surface of the Lancaster Dam on the West Rand, ringed by mine dumps. There are no insects and no bird life. The once pristine dam is now classified a "radiological hotspot" by the National Nuclear Regulator.Liefferink, now barefoot, pointed out water seeping into the soil, which would end up in the Wonderfonteinspruit. The spruit [stream] is one of the main tributaries of the Vaal River, upon which millions depend.The nearby informal settlements of Tudor Shaft and Soul City are surrounded by abandoned mine shafts and mine dumps.A Soul City resident, who gave her name as Dinah, said the informal settlement became "totally white" with dust from the dumps on windy days.According to Liefferink, dust particles from the dumps contain uranium and other toxic and radioactive heavy metals.Paul Potgieter, a former peat farmer in Carletonville, said he had to abandon his farm in 2007 after what he terms a "toxic tsunami".According to Potgieter's daughter René, the water had "a rotten egg smell" and tests showed the wetlands had high levels of sulphates."The consequence is that South Africa now imports 90% of the peat used because the wetlands are polluted with AMD water," Potgieter said.Peat is used in the mushroom industry as a casing soil, because it is very good at holding water. However, if salt levels are too high (as is the case in AMD) then the yield falls.According to Potgieter, there are now fewer than four farmers left from Randburg to Roodepoort as the mines have bought the land."There are currently offers for my neighbours' farm, once a cattle farm."Potgieter said the cattle farmer also had to terminate his operations after a National Nuclear Regulator directive stating that his cattle were "not permitted to drink water from the property".AMD a legacy issueA spokesperson from Rand Uranium, who did not want to be named, said AMD was a "legacy issue", which arises from more than 120 years of mining under the Central, East and West Rand.However, the spokesperson said "the AMD that is being referred to is unrelated to Rand Uranium's current mining operations, which are located in a different area [from where the tainted water gushes from the earth]".The spokesperson said the mine has taken "extensive short-term measures to address the issue in the West Rand, and has contributed significantly to the development of a sustainable long-term solution, in line with its commitment to responsible environmental practices, and to supporting revitalisation of mining on the near West Rand".The mine spokesperson said the scale of the problem was such that it "is economically and practically impossible for one party to solve on its own" and it was spending more than R2,5-million a month on a treatment plant on the West Rand.According to Liefferink from the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, the mine currently partially purifies about 12,5-million litres of AMD water per day, leaving between 11-million and 56-million litres per day to flow into the province's river systems untreated.Nevertheless, the mine is adamant that acid mine drainage can only be solved with significant investment and collective action by the mining industry, civil society and the government."We have been doing all we can to contain the impact on the Western basin decant, while being the lead agents in forging a long-term sustainable solution," said the spokesperson.'Environmental liability'According to Liefferink, Rand Uranium is not the only mining company that has to carry 120 years of "environmental liability".The Department of Water Affairs in 2006 ordered Australian-listed company Mintails and DRDGold to pump and treat 0,4% and 44% of their acid mine drainage respectively."But DRDGold has never pumped or treated this AMD water. The sole responsibility has fallen upon Mintails and Rand Uranium, but they cannot cope," said Liefferink.The untreated water, according to Liefferink, has now contaminated the Tweelopiespruit, the Wonderfonteinspruit catchment, Robinson Dam, Lancaster Dam, Hippo Dam, Hartbeespoort Dam and will eventually contaminate the Limpopo River catchment river systems.Liefferink, like Colyn, believes that mining companies aren't doing enough."The richest gold mines were found here in the West Rand yet they have moved off with all their money. They haven't rehabilitated and they haven't cleaned up properly," said Colyn.According to Liefferink, AMD water can be treated by reverse osmosis, but it's extremely expensive.Reverse osmosis is a process in which a solvent passes through a porous membrane in the opposite direction to that of natural osmosis when subjected to a hydrostatic pressure greater than the osmotic pressure."Anglo Coal is currently treating AMD by reverse osmosis in its Witbank plant and the treatment costs R10 per cubic metre while Rand Water currently sells its water at R3 per cubic metre.According to the Department of Water Affairs, an inter-ministerial committee (IMC) has been established and the minister of water and environmental affairs has been mandated to convene a task team to investigate and develop a clear and coordinated strategy to deal with AMD.The IMC had its first meeting on September 1. On Monday at a media briefing in Cape Town, the committee called on some of South Africa's top experts to help find a solution to the AMD problem as it won't be able to cope.The polluter paysAmong the urgent decisions that have to be taken is where the government is going to find R218-million for a new pump station and pipeline, and an upgrade to an existing waterworks -- facilities essential to treat the acid mine water.According to the department, there is only R14-million available for this in the current budget."AMD is an important issue in the bigger policy question facing government and the public on how to apply the 'polluter pays' policy, which is entrenched in our environmental legislation, to the legacy of gold and coal mining, and how to plan for these issues in future as new mines are opened," said Victor Munnik, Mvula programme manager.While, Mvula -- the largest NGO supporting water and sanitation development in South Africa -- does not purify AMD water, it supports local government in the delivery of sustainable, reliable and affordable water services."Clearly the polluter pays principle means that the polluter -- the mining companies -- should take the prime responsibility. Government's role is to apply policy, as well as to ultimately look after our water resources, which it holds in custodianship on behalf of all in South Africa," Munnik said.

SOURCE: www.mg.co.za