23 December 2011

Official Shutdown

The Albany Museum Complex (Natural Science, History and Observatory) will officially close for the Christmas holidays as from this 23 December, and will re-open on 03 January 2012. The is determined by the head office of the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC) which employs museum staff members.

The Museum wishes to express sincere gratitude to all those who continued to support its endeavour for sustainability.

To Friends of the Museum, visitors, researchers, teachers, students, and all other stakeholders, the Museum wishes to echo MEC for the DSRAC, Hounorable Xoliswa Tom sentiments and wish all of you a very special Christmas and a prosperous 2011.

30 November 2011

Fleur leaves yellowwood tree as remembrance

By: Zongezile Matshoba

Fleur Way-Jones has donated a very important real yellowwood tree as a way of saying "thank you" to all her colleagues at Albany Museum.

"This is the most valuable tree ... so are you," said Way-Jones as she bid farewell after 25 years of dedicated service. She was a curator of both the Albany History Museum and Albany Observatory Museum.

Way-Jones' passion about the tree makes her face glitter with happiness.

"This is a genuine Knysna yellowwood tree. It symbolises long life," she said.

Phumlani Cimi, a botanist at the Selmar Schonland Herbarium which is part of Albany Museum said that they have specimens of the real yellowwood, and its scientific name is Podocarpus latifolius.

"This is a national plant, and is very valuable," he said. The herbarium only deals with identifiable specimens that have relevant information such as fruit, flower or leaves. He said they do not keep large or living specimens.

"These belong to nursery, botanical garden or the forest," Cimi said of some perceptions whereby people come with large things such as pot plants.

The South Africa.info website reports that the yellowwood family is ancient, having grown in this part of Africa for over 100-million years.

Way-Jones planted the tree next to the Museum's history building in Lucas Avenue. She was assisted by Sabata Mageza from the Museum's Maintenance Department, and her visiting Korean friend, Dr Inhwa So.

According to Way-Jones, there were six other yellowwood trees that were donated by Scifest, but four were stolen.

"Don't be stolen," were her last words.

28 October 2011

Archaeology giant to rule the road

By: Zongezile Matshoba

The Museum’s Archaeology newly acquired Isuzu 4 x 4 has come at a right time with Celeste Booth, the Assistant Curator itching to traverse those unchallenged territories. The Archeology department is deeply involved in Stone Age and pre-colonial history research, rock art and is leading the environmental impact assessments in the Eastern Cape.

Just like a new born’s baby shower, a welcoming get together on Friday between the Museum and Kenrich GM Motors in Grahamstown welcomed the ongoing strong ties. The car dealer has been supplying the Museum with some of the fleet, while the rest came from Toyota. Champagne popped all over, snacks and drinks were in abundant, but presents were the only missing link. Why? It was not the birth of a baby, but that of a giant ready to race hundreds of kilometres.

Dr Billy de Klerk, Curator of Paleontology department thanked Dr Johan Binneman, the Curator and Head of the Museum’s Archaeology Department, for raising such funds all these years, thereby contributing to the depleting Albany Museum fleet.

Museums are non-profit in nature, and have to raise their own money to buy cars. They are not even furnished with government’s fleet that the various government departments enjoy provincially and nationally.

The bakkie is well branded with both the Museum and car dealer’s signage clearly visible even at a distance. The branding has been designed by Thabang Tshobeni, the Museum’s Exhibition Officer.

21 October 2011

Exhibitors - Apply Now!

All interested exhibitors are invited to apply for space to showcase their art works at Albany Museum during the 2012 National Arts Festival.

Space is limited, and it will be given on a first come, first serve basis. This is a sort after prime space with around 10 000 visitors visiting the Museum every year during the arts fest.

All applications must reach Albany Museum no later than 1st December 2011. No late applications will be accepted. Only successful applicants will be notified by 15 January 2012.

Artists also need to register separately with the festival office to be included in the NAF programme.

For the available spaces, rates, and to have the form e-mailed to you, please contact Mr Thabang Tshobeni - the Albany Museum Exhibitions Officer at:- T.Tshobeni@ru.ac.za OR 046 - 622 2312.

Tagging Albany Museum

by: Zongezile Matshoba

Albany Museum is making some waves on the net, with some tags featuring interesting links. The most recent one is the video posted by Lauren Haworth, a 4th year New Media Journalism student from Rhodes University. Haworth used the Museum for her project. She has been engaged with Nozipho Madinda of the Mobile Museum Services, and going out to get a first hand experience and capture live what the outreach programme. Getting Management for interviews is always a challenge, but Bongani Mgijima, the Museum’s Manager has been there to give Haworth all the necessary insight and support.

Watch it for yourself, and post your comments.

Alternatively, listen to what some learners say about their heritage, and how Albany Museum plays a crucial role in conserving and promoting Grahamstown and Eastern Cape heritage.

One must bear in mind that these are all young people, who opted to tackle heritage matters head on. That is an assurance that, for years to come, heritage and museum issues will continue to be guarded and passed on.

19 October 2011

Tourism Awareness - What's your role?

By: Zongezile Matshoba

The belated Tourism Awareness Campaign, which is a joint venture between Makana Tourism and Albany Museum kick-started in earnest from the 19 October and will run until 16 November this year. It was initially scheduled for the Heritage and Tourism Month that takes place in September every year.

Its aim is to encourage Makana Municipality individuals, friends, families, workers, students and visitors to learn more about Makana tourism attractions and other tourism products.

The campaign also has an educational outreach component. It aims to educate and expose the learners and community at large as to how tourism operates and what are its benefits.

Makana community invites everyone to actively participate instead of being an observer and spectator, as tourism is everyone’s business. This will help in furthering tourism development initiatives and the marketing of tourism in the local municipality.

Vuyani Njovane, the Makana Tourism Officer and the engine behind the campaign, will take the campaign to schools around Makana Municipality. He will be accompanied by some local tour guides, and the learners that attended the 2011 Robben Island Museum Spring School in Cape Town and the Nelson Mandela Museum Youth Camp in Qunu, Umthatha.

Radio Grahamstown FM Community Radio will also be playing a promotional advert for the duration of the campaign.

12 October 2011


On the 30 of September 2011, Ms Nozipho HoD Mobile Museum of Albany Museum and five learners Lelethu Mto of Khutlisso Daniels, Amanda Nyumka of Masakhane Farm school,Nkosiyabo Magwadi of Sakhingomso farm school, Nkcubeko Balani of Mary Water High and Zintle Mali of Masihlangane J.S.S travelled to Robben Island. They were attended the annual Spring School. The theme was ‘Conservation of tangible and intangible heritage of Robben Island’Explore, and, protect our Heritage.

The2011 spring school has attended by South African learners, the neighbouring states countries couldn’t come due to financial constraints. The spring school consisted of heritage workshop, umrabulo, knowledge hunt, electives and open day celebrations where we received certificates. Umrabulo is a Xhosa word it means to sip and in this case its symbolic is sipping from the cup of knowledge. We had ex-political prisoners who facilitated umrabulo. For the knowledge hunt we were divided into groups and given clues. These would help to lead us to uncover pieces of the history of Robben Island. Another activity called electives, there were four electives namely Radio, Print media, Photography and Video production. All the learners took part in different electives. The public relations and marketing officer of Albany Museum Mr Zongezile Matshoba was one of the facilitators and his elective was print media. He did a great job as a result the learners wrote different stories on a blog and face book.

It was amazing when one of my learners won a prize after she did manage to talk about her culture and her traditional outfit. When is it worn and by whom? Why is it important in our community and the way she conserve her culture and her traditional wear. The name of the learner is Amanda Nyumka of Masakhane farm school based in Hope Fountain near Grahamstown.

Robben Island is such a wonderful and peaceful place although it was a prison. Something that is very interesting it is a world heritage site. Spring school has an awesome experience and the new friends we made. We would like to thank the Robben Island management and staff for giving us this opportunity and the funding of the Spring School.
As museum practitioners and learners we should go back to schools and our communities and implement what we have learnt during the spring school.

28 September 2011


The Albany Museum has been invited to send four learners to Robben Island Museum’s Isivivane Solwazi 2011 Spring School Nation Building Camp, Mobile Museum Services Head of Department Nozipho Madinda, will accompany Zintle Mali from Masihlangane Secondary School King Williams Town, Nkosiyabo Magwadi Masakhane Combined farm School Seven Fountains, Nyumka Amanda from Sakhingomso farm School Hope Fountain and Lelethu Mto from Khutliso Daniels Secondary School. The public Relations and Marketing Officer Zongezile Matshoba will also join the team and facilitate one of the electives.

Ex-political prisoners will teach the learners more about Robben Island where they will discuss the theme ‘What can you define as your heritage and how are you safe guarding it?’

Before the trip, the learners have to research the topic. They will also be required to bring a set of traditional clothing, and be able to explain when it is worn, by whom and why it is important to them or their community. It will be an opportunity for the learners to celebrate the culture and introduce it to other learners from South Africa and Namibia.

The Spring School is from 30 September to 9 October 2011. During their time on the Island, participants will take a journey to discover its history of banishment, hardship, isolation and imprisonment but also learn about resistance and triumph of human spirit.

23 September 2011


This interview was organised by Refiloe of SAFM for heritage day celebration slot. Speech prepared by Phumeza N.Mntonintshi-Anthropology Curator of Albany Museum assisted by Nomthunzi API.

This is a brief Anthropological view on Graham’s town history and heritage on artefacts that represents our indefinite Cultures. Albany Museum is the second oldest museum in the country about 154 years old now. We do research in and around Eastern Cape and we also keep artefacts of high standard which comes from all over the world for research and represantivity purposes.

Briefly in this section (Anthropology), we Curate, Conserve & Preserve tangible and intangible Cultural heritage that is not different from the rich &unique South African heritage for all, as in Rainbow nation status.

The Traditional use of Artefacts like Calabashes and Clay pots by the Eastern Cape inhabitants in the past, for example Xhosa speaking people ,Sothos,Khoisan,etc reflects that they were commonly used as domestic tools to conduct household daily chores such as Milk vessels,bowls,water and beer containers. Hence I believe that some other Ethnic groups in Southern Africa were using them for a similar purpose. Again when it comes to Traditional music instruments that we have inherited from the past such as Drums made from Ox skins and wood, Uhadi made from a special type of Calabash and strings as well as Ox horns shows that our people entertained themselves by using what was available at their disposal without necessary buying them. With that information I can further conclude that they were Economic or saving in their actions so to speak.

Also Graham’s town is well known for being the home of the famous Egazini Heritage site (Battle field) where Soldiers from various Ethnic backgrounds, come together yearly and reflect unity in diversity by staging fights and acting what happened there years ago. We also the home of 1820 Settlers Monument, Fort Selwyn, Fort Brown & Anglo-Boer war grave on the way to Fort Beaufort which also add to our rich GHT Heritage. Again Makana Municipality is named after a famous Robben Island Museum prisoner Makhanda or Nxele. There is a lot that one can say about Graham’s town since it also is the home of annual National Arts Festival held every winter showcasing arts and culture of various Ethnic groups from all over, hence attracting tourists and boost local economy plus tourism industry.

Lastly our dept reaches out to schools through Outreach programmes and in-house educational focus weeks whereby we present our researched information to school groups, researchers and the general public.

…………………..I THANK YOU……………….

22 September 2011

Independent churches blessed the exhibition

By: Zongezile Matshoba

Exuberant and amazing choruses engulfed Albany History Museum as a number of African Independent Churches from around Grahamstown and Port Alfred, led by Archbishop Bheyi of Heroes Church of Zion in South Africa, sung and danced during the opening of the Amabandla AmaAfrika: African Independent Churches of Soweto 1969-71 exhibition on Wednesday evening. They moved back and forth, with the little girl beating the inspiring drum in tune with the songs that have everyone sweating. Dusty footprints in usually shiny floors were evidence of culturally deprived and marginalised communities who never ventured into such a public space. It was an unbelievable moment, and something that has never been experience before in the history of Albany Museum.

The exhibition is part of the 2011 Heritage Month of September with the theme: Liberation Heritage in honour of Heroes and Heroines of the Liberation Struggle. It was kindly loaned by the University of Cape Town’s Library Visual Archives.

"This is what we want," lamented Patricia Mafu, Manager of Museums and Heritage in the Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC). "We are striving for transformation".

Mafu, who was accompanied by Sitati Gitywa, an Assistant Manager Museums and Heritage, was introducing Cecil Nonqane, the Chairperson of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, and retired employee of the Museum and DSRAC.

Nonqane, in his speech, summarily narrated the history of the museum then and now, going as way back as 1855, before declaring the exhibition officially opened.

"Many of you were not born then ... things were difficult," he said of the colonial and Apartheid times.

Despite the changes that museums are implementing, Nonqane alluded to the fact that maybe over 90% of the “members of the African Independent Churches present tonight were coming to the museum for the first time”.

"Mhm," "Yes," came the answers very quickly.

With this glorious history of the African Independent Churches, Albany Museum is showing that in the dark days of apartheid the independent churches were always there among the people in their joys and in their sufferings.

Archbishop Bheyi, in his grace, thanked God for being there in support of the African Independent Churches throughout those difficult times. He appreciated the democratic changes and the Martin West photographic exhibition that is even reaching out to them and showcasing their faith without fear or favour.

Albany History Museum is opened from Monday to Friday. Admission is R10 for adults, and R5 for students and pensioners. Friends of the Museum that are up-to-date with their subscriptions gain free entrance.
For more, visit:
African independent churches to grace Museum

09 September 2011

Dolls are our heritage

By: Zongezile Matshoba

Grandmother, mothers, and aunts throughout Africa and in other parts of the world are making dolls that our sisters and young girls play with in. These dolls vary, signifying different stages of life. Women, as custodians of the family, have to take care of the household, grew children, teach morals and house chores. They spent more time with children them informally.

Phumeza Mntonintshi, Albany Museum's Curator of Anthropology, and her assistant, Nomthunzi Api, were making their commemoration of the heritage month during a focus week organised by the Museum's Education Department.

"Dolls make us deal with our culture, and appreciate it," Mntonitshi told the groups of learners that were listening with beaming faces. "These are not your ordinary dolls that are factory made, that you buy in the shops".

Is your doll meaning anything? Well, to many Africans, different dolls mean different things.

"They are used as a unifying instrument amongst families," Mntonintshi said.

There are small healing dolls covered with beads, and with medicinal plants inside for example. These are given by diviners to protect you from bad spirits haunting your life. Other forms of dolls are for leisure, while others are gender based or mark the varying age stages of children.

Whatever traditional dolls one has, symbolizes certain things. They are an important part of our culture then, now and will remain so in the future.

01 September 2011


Mobile Museum co-ordinator Ms Nozipho Madinda and Ms Dineo Poo the Business Development Officer in charge of the youth activities in the South African Post Office conducted stamp collection lessons to 13 schools in Grahamstown as from 22nd August to the 31st August 2011.Ms Dineo Poo left on the 26th of August and the Mobile Museum continued with the stamp lessons.
This was an exciting activity that learners enjoyed the most, which was the map of South African Provinces where they could match up the stamp of that particular province.

This was great excitement and the learner putting the correct stamp in the correct place won the prize of a post office pen.

It was noticed that learners were unaware of writing of letters or use of stamps when contacting relatives.For some, it was the very first time.

Learners were encouraged to communicate with their parents and friends by writing letters and postcards and using stamps as they were relatively affordable.

The Mobile Museum would like to take this opportunity to thank the South African Post Office Philatelic Services for the resources and activities they provided for these learners.

26 August 2011

African independent churches to grace Museum

By: Zongezile Matshoba

One down, one up! Is it not stretching too much for Thabang Tshobeni, the Albany Museum Exhibition Officer, and Bongani Mgijima, the Museum’s Manager? Well, it seems unlikely if one is privy to the number of e-mails the two have been sharing. That was followed by a trip down to the University of Cape Town (UCT) that Mgijima undertook on Monday, and only to be back by Thursday morning.

The sooner the Museum opened the same morning, Tshobeni was at it again, putting up the Amabandla amaAfrika exhibition with Claire McNulty, having taken down the ILAM’s exhibition on Hugh Tracey with Elijah Madiba at the beginning of the week.

McNulty is the Assistant Curator of Visual Archive at UCT’s Library.

The Amabandla amaAfrika is part of our heritage detailing the unsung heroes who provided spiritual strength during difficult times in South Africa. It is based on the PhD work of Martin West, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of UCT, and deals with about 900 black independent churches in Soweto between 1969 and 1971.

It will open around September at Albany History Museum as part of the heritage month.

Smallest ambassadors

By: Zongezile Matshoba

Many interesting questions were being raised on whether Grahamstown, being a historic town, does feature at all in many of the South African stamps produced so far. These were coming from learners when Dineo Poo, the Business Development Officer in charge of the youth activities in the South African Post Office Philatelic Services visited Grahamstown this week to conduct stamp collection lessons to various schools in Grahamstown along with Albany Museum’s Mobile Museum Officer, Nozipho Madinda this week.

The only consolation is that the Post Office launched the rare musical instruments stamps during this year’s National Arts Festival. She told learners that the Post Office often invites people to say what they want to see on stamps.

Poo shared the educational value of both the commemorative and definitive stamps.

She said, “Stamps are a pretty picture and a result of art work. We employ artists that capture our landscape and tell us what is happening around us”.

She encouraged interested learners to study graphic design if they want to design stamps, and to enter the design competition whenever there is a call.

Stamps are the most important receipt, especially to philatelists who collect stamps all over the world for various reasons. Many collect stamps of the same theme such as birds or trains. New and cancelled stamps are collected. The most expensive stamp worldwide so far is the tiny Treskilling Yellow stamp at around R59 million (5 Million Pounds) in 2010.

“Stamps tell a story. They teach us about our history, nature, people, and culture,” Poo told the learners. “They are little ambassadors reaching every part of the world”.

She showed several stamps and made examples of the Big Five that attracts many tourists to our country; the Fifa 2010 Soccer World Cup Stadiums; and Chief Bambatha kaMancinza, leader of the Zondi clan led the Bambatha Rebellion and was beheaded for fighting taxes imposed on blacks in Zululand.

Learners were encouraged to start writing letters to friends and family members as stamps are mostly cheap. Letters and postcards are memoirs that are cherished forever. The Universal Postal Union which governs postal services worldwide runs an annual competition on letter writing, in its 40th year, for young people up to the age 15 years. The 2012 theme is: Write a letter to an athlete or sports figure you admire to explain what the Olympic Games mean to you”. By 30 April 2012, each national winner’s letter from participating countries must have been submitted for adjudication internationally. Winners are awarded prizes on World Post Day on 09 October every year.

09 August 2011

Museums' Women remembered

By: Zongezile Matshoba
As South Africa celebrates Women's Day on 9 August, Albany Museum remembered all women in the museum sector for their various contributions.

Following the recent profiling of the only two women Directors in the history of Albany Museum, other women in various areas were profiled. These range from those in the general work sphere to the most specialised research sphere.

Despite the severe shortage of staff, and under funding, women continued to feature in the administration, finance, education, curatorship and research areas of many museums. Many are also at the forefront of museums organised structures like the South African Museums Association (SAMA).

A glimpse of this profile is in all the notice boards of the Natural Science Museum, History Museum and Observatory Museum.

Layout and Design: Thabang Tshobeni

08 August 2011

Doherty's BOS @ Albany Museum

By: Zongezile Matshoba

Christo Doherty's BOS, the constructed images and the memory of the South African "Bush War" opened at Albany History Museum this evening, 8 August 2011.

Both Doherty and Gary Baines, the Associate Professor at Rhodes University's History Department have insurmountable praises for Thabang Tshobeni, Albany Museum's Exhibitions Department. Tshobeni put enormous effort in ensuring that all the pieces of the exhibit are in place, despite the tight schedule. Bongani Mgijima, the Museum's Manager, was thanked for his understanding in giving the space for the exhibition.
Doherty, the Head of Digital Art at University of the Witwatersrand's School of Art, generated considerable acclaim and controversy he exhibited this work at the Johannesburg's Resolution Gallery of Digital Art. For example, a letter to the editor of the Mail & Guardian (4-10 February 2011), interestingly by Paul Wessels of Grahamstown, said Doherty artistic work has created 'a martyrology, turning the foot soldiers of apartheid into victims'. The challenge is on the Grahamstown community to come in droves and share their view points, Doherty said.

It has been made possible by the South Africa Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development (SANPAD).

The exhibition can be viewed at the Standard Bank Gallery from 9:00 – 16:30, every Monday to Friday, until the 30 September 2011. Admission to the Museum is R10, 00 only.

29 July 2011

Take a learner to work day

By: Sinovuyo Falakahla and Zongezile Matshoba

Take a learner to work day is not a day that’s well known to many. It’s a day whereby professional working class citizens host a student in their day to day job and facilitates them in their day to day doings in hope that the learner too will one day aspire to take on that profession.

The initiative, by the Eastern Cape Department of Education, in association with Scifest Africa, is in celebration of the National Science Week, a countrywide celebration of science initiated in 2000 by the Department of Science and Technology.

In line with the 2011 theme, "The Role of Science in Economic Development", one of the activities planned for the NSW 2011 Programme in Grahamstown was a Take a Learner to Work Day.

In the town, a number of grade 11 students from various schools around the town got together for this day at the Department of Education and got assigned to the various working environments. Five of these learners visited the Albany Museum for this day. The tasks and jobs they were all assigned to, varied. One student, Thulani Mshiywa from Khutliso High who is an aspiring accountant got to sit down with Khanyiswa Mhlekwa, the State Accountant from the museum and got to witness what her job entailed and got to work hand in hand with her. After the experience this is what he had to say:

“I found today interesting as I got to apply what I have learnt at school to the work I was being given which made it more practical”.

Anathi Siwela, a learner from Nstika High School visited the Archeology Department and got to work along side two very professional people Dr. Binneman and Celeste Booth. Dr. Binneman has been in the game for over 30 years. With his visit to the department Siwela found that learning the history of the transformation and the evolving of what was then compared to what is now very interesting. Although he is still not clear about what he wants to do at tertiary level, he thinks that having a scientific background as a stepping stone.

Amongst the learners were two very enthusiastic boys, Amangile Mfundisi and Siluvuyo Singaphi from Nombulelo Senior Secondary School who visited the History Department, under the guidance of Fleur Way-Jones, the History Museum curator. The two boys are aspiring historians and pilot who found they visit worthwhile. They learnt about environmental conservation and the preservation of historical objects and how the change in temperature can affect them. Very high temperature melts and creates molding on the surface of the objects. They all eagerly wore protective clothing to prevent the oiliness of their hands from damaging the material and had check lists for both security and conservation purposes.

The objective of the whole initiative was for the guest to learn more about the vision and mission of the organisation, the roles and tasks of the various staff members, the training required to follow a career in the relevant field, as well as to experience a typical day in workplace and perhaps even gain some practical experience.

The whole day had been greatly anticipated by all the students and it proved to be both and educational and interesting experience by far.

Sinovuyo Falakahla is a grade 11 learner from Mary Waters High School. She was with the Communications and Marketing Department learning how to write a press release and take pictures.

"As I myself not only got exposed to new and exciting things but also learnt that there’s more to life than what meets the eye as I would have never thought I'd be writing my first article".

26 July 2011

Museum Friends on a Talk on Heritage

Dr Rose Boswell will be the main speaker on this year's 157th Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Museum. This will take place this Wednesday, the 27 July 2011 at Rennie Wing Hall of the Albany Museum in Somerset Street.

Her topic is entiltled "The Influence of Heritage, Memory and Identity in the African Museum".

Dr Boswell is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Head of Anthropology Department, and Deputy Dean of the Humanities faculty at Rhodes University.

She has done anthropological fieldwork on heritage, identity, gender and diversity management in South Africa, Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles and Zanzibar. She is author of three books and several academic articles.

She is also a mother of three lovely children.

All interested people are welcomed. Membership forms are still available to anyone interested in being a member of the Friends of the Albany Museum.

23 July 2011

Friends of the Museum - 157TH Annual General Meeting


Wednesday, 27 July 2011 @ 17h00


Rennie Wing Hall, Albany Natural Science Museum, Somerset Street.


All fully paid-up members and anyone interested in becoming a member of the Friends of the Albany Museum is invited.

Only fully paid-up members are eligible to vote. Nomination forms are available to nominate two subscribers to represent the Friends of the Museum on the Board of Trustees of the Albany Museum.

Membership joining forms are available at the Albany Natural Science Museum.


Please visit us at Somerset Street, Grahamstown.

Altenatively, call 046 - 622 2312, or contact:
Ms Vovo Mabutya / Zongezile Matshoba at albanymuseum@ru.ac.za

22 July 2011

Youth jubilant of Mandela Camp

By: Zongezile Matshoba

They went, they saw, and they were impressed. Gcobisa Mjele, a learner at Mary Waters High School and Nolubabalo Ralo from Ntsika High School poured out their hearts during the belated Mandela Day organised by Albany Museum at Zintle Farm School recently.

This was their first community outreach as part of youth empowered by the Mandela Youth Camp that they attended at the Nelson Mandela Museum in Umthatha during the winter school holiday. The camp had over 45 learners from all over South Africa.

“It taught us about the struggles that former State President Nelson Mandela endured … and Mandela values,” Mjele said.

She added that “There were enriching and inspirational presentations on different cultures and uniqueness by the nine provinces”.

That the programme was organised by a museum did not shy away from a topic about museums and heritage. They learnt about the purposes of the museums, museum careers and job opportunities.

Ralo said: “We were taught about what heritage defines, things of the past, museums and monuments”.

Other popular topics were the school uniform issue, where many agreed that it is still important for identity and representation.

Interestingly, Ralo said, they also debated popular technology like Mixit, and its impact on learning and teaching, especially sentence construction during examinations.
The groups were involved in electives like fine art, photography and craft. The works were presented in a gala dinner.

The two said they would never forget such an opportunity and are grateful that Albany Museum chose them.

"To be where Mandela was grew, and to be taught to follow on his footsteps and continue his legacy is an honour that we will cherish forever," they said in unison.

Museum's Mandela Day in Pics

Pics by: Zongezile Matshoba and Michelle Morgan

The call for the Mandela Day touched Albany Museum once again.

Albany Museum team, led by Mobile Museum Services, went out in numbers.

Collected goods from Grahamstonians, individuals and businesses, including Rhodes University, were packed and delivered.

Teachers, learners and parents could not wait for the Museum to leave before seeing what was inside those bags.

Moving speeches about accepting change and making a difference were delivered.

Learners also shared their experience of benefitting in the name of Dr Nelson Mandela.
Some went to the Nelson Mandela Museum's Mandela Youth Camp in Umthatha, while others went to the Robben Island Museum's Isivivane Spring School in the Western Cape.

Little ones were not forgotten as snacks and kiddies clothes were handed out.

There were joys and jubilations as all were happy and unable to hide all the excitement.

Donations, Support pours for Mandela Day

By: Zongezile Matshoba

One would have been forgiven to think that Nozipho Madinda, the Albany Museum Mobile Services Officer is participating in the Grahamstown Tourism Amazing Chase, or in one of the infamous treasure hunt shows. Similar to a marathon runner, she went up and down Grahamstown, covering reasonable kilometers, with the Mandela Day name tag, and the Grahamstown community cheered and cherished her endeavours.

“I have to quickly dash to City Fashions, Diamond, Fruit and Veg, and then to Pick n Pay,” cried Madinda in high gasp as she was finalizing the collection of donations for the Mandela Day on Friday, 22 July 2011 at Zintle Farm School in Manley Flats.

Surprisingly, she came back complaining that the Museum van could not start when she left Kingswood College. She had to ask the learners to push it, and then she kick-started it.

“We must ask for a donation for a new van during the next Mandela Day,” she joked to Heine Kohl, the Museum's Maintenance Department Supervisor.

The afternoon was all the same. The Museum telephone kept on ringing, asking for her while she answered her cellphone. She had a very short lunch, eating just for ten minutes while standing. She had another appointment with High-Tech Security company.

The Museum staff did not disappoint either, in particular the retired Entomologist, Dr Sarah Gess. She went out to buy four soccer balls for the four schools. Rhodes University Community Engagement delivered its own bag of donations.

The last part of the afternoon saw her giving orders to Museum staff that was helping her divide and label the donations for the four farm schools.

When everybody else was knocking off, another call from Kodak came in. In desperation, she dashed out once again.

Grahamstonians must be really proud of reacting positively whenever the Museum calls for their support.

18 July 2011

Yello, Mandela Day!

By: Zongezile Matshoba

The Museum will this year bring a bright yellow Mandela Day for the farm communities. Four farm schools, Manley Flats, Zintle, Martindale and Wilson’s Party will once again be visited on the 22 July 2011 to celebrate Mandela Day, thanks to Statistic South Africa that donated the yellow 2011 census rulers, water bottles and caps.

The farm communities are one of the most deprived and sometimes neglected communities. Census ensures that every country’s citizen counts, so are the farm communities. The climax of the event will be accompanied by a short address and cultural activities.

Albany Museum is also showcasing for the last time the Dear Mr Mandela…Dear Mrs Parks: Children’s Letters, Global Lessons Exhibition for all those who missed it previously.

Nozipho Madinda, the Mobile Museum Services Officer is also working around the clock to collect as many more donations as possible. An appeal is being made to the Makana Community, businesses, non-governmental organisations and individuals to be part of the Museum’s initiative and extend helping hands.

Mandela Day is a call to everyone to spend only 67 minutes and help make a difference. It celebrates the 67 years that Dr Nelson Mandela, the legendary former State President of South Africa, spent fighting for a better life for all.

The Mandela Day on 18 July, as proposed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and declared by the United Nations, coincides with Mandela's birthday. The Albany Museum, together with the rest of the world will once again celebrate the legacy of the legendary former State President who was politically active for 67 years.

04 July 2011

What’s On @ AM – 2011 NAF

By: Zongezile Matshoba

Albany Museum is abuzz with the 2011 National Arts Festival exhibitions. Exhibitors, artists and visitors have ignored the on and off cold weather to come and see for themselves some of the best creativities that are on offer.

The museum complex always offers prime space to some outstanding exhibitions at Natural Science Museum, History Museum, Observatory Museum, Fort Selwyn and Provost.

The following artists are accommodated at Albany History Museum:

Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC) is presenting A Century of Fallen EC Visual Artists at History Museum Foyer
Johannesburg Art Gallery has Allan Crump: A fearless Vision at the Standard Bank Gallery
Caversham Centre is exhibiting People, Prints and Process at the Grahamstown Gallery
ILAM is showcasing For Future Generation at the Transformation Gallery.

At the Albany Observatory Museum diamond room, there is the Stamps Exhibition by the South African Post Office.

The Albany Natural Science Museum has the following artists:
Zingisa Nkosinkulu presenting Beyond Synergy at the Green Gallery B
Mathias Chirambo with Sacred Spaces at the Green Gallery A
Sonnett Olls is using the Museum’s Rennie Wing Hall to exhibit A Silent Witness
Brett-Anne Moolman is exhibiting the State of Being at the foyer next to the Blue Planet Gallery Michael Selekane is showcasing Ifa Lethu at the main foyer
Daniela Novela is at the Education Room with Three Primary Colours
Johann Badenhorst’s (on)duidelik is at the Cube Gallery just below the Green Gallery
Gordon Legg has Open Spaces at the Coffee Shop
Fanizani Akuna, Elvis Mavura and Richard Mteki are at the Gazebo with Contemporary Shona Sculptures

The Museum is opened daily from 09h00 to 17h00 for the 11 days of the AMAZ!NG festival which runs from the 30 June to 10 July.

Artists interested in booking for an exhibition venue must contact the Museum’s Exhibition Officer, Thabang Tshobeni.

For more about the exhibitions and the arts festival, please visit the:
National Arts Festival

27 June 2011

Generous donation to the Selmar Schonland Herbarium

The Selmar Schonland is once again humbled by the generosity of the Skae family. After hearing of our financial woes Russell Skae has made a personal donation of R2 500 to the herbarium towards renovating our faulty fluorescent light fittings. Russell went to school at Kingswood and studied at Rhodes Univeristy and now lives with his family in The Netherlands. He became aware of our plight when his mother Jo, a volunteer in the herbarium (sse post below, 31 May 2011), told him how she mounts plant specimens in the dark on cloudy days.
Many thanks Russell!

16 June 2011

University of Fort Hare students use the herbarium

On Tuesday 14th of June Dr Lisa Buwa, from the University of Fort Hare Botany Department, visited the Selmar Schonland Herbarium with 7 of her Honours students. The visit was a hands-on practical to introduce the students to the functions and value of a herbarium collection. Each student had collected, pressed and dried a specimen to be assessed for its value as a voucher specimen. Fort Hare students, staff and researchers have come to rely on the Schonland Herbarium for plant identifications and botanical information and have now included a day visit to the herbarium as part of their botany honours course. While Pumlani Cimi showed the students how to use the herbarium and handle specimens correctly Mr Dold identified their specimens as well as Dr Buwa's specimens for her research project.

08 June 2011

Putting Museum fire off

By: Zongezile Matshoba

The newly formed Health and Safety Committee at Albany Museum started on high gear when it organised an eye-opening briefing by the Makana Municipality Fire Department.

An excited fire expert, Robert Brooks said he could now breathe a sigh of relief as it was only Albany Museum that he has not served throughout his 27 years in the field.

He started by outlining what he called the four Golden Rules that must be followed in the event of a fire. He advised that:

1. The alarm must be rung
2. The fire department be notified
3. Staff registers must be collect by those in charge
4. An evacuation plan must be followed. Highlights of the plan should include:-
* Closing windows and doors
* Turning off all electrical equipment
* Using existing fire extinguishers to put out small if and when necessary

Surprisingly, no one seems to know the emergency Fire Department number - 046-6224444, when Brooks asked for it. The audience gave the South African Police Service (SAPS) emergency, 10 111 number instead.

Getting into the main business, Brooks explained how the fire works. He drew up what he called a triangle of combustion. He said that a fire needs three things to burn: oxygen, heat and fuel. Putting out any of the three makes it very difficult for the fire to spread further. He then categorised fuel into A - Combustibles, e.g. wood, paper, textiles; B - Flammable liquids e.g. petrol, paraffin, diesel, ethanol, oil, grease, benzene; and C - Electricity and electrical equipment.

Following that was the more interesting part, and one that seem to concern everybody, especially the researchers who seemed concerned of losing valuable collections gathered over a number of years. Everyone wanted to know how to put out the fire to save the building, collections and jobs.

He advised that, for Category A - water must be used; for Category B - the dry chemical fire extinguisher must be used; and for Category C - the carbon dioxide fire extinguisher which has a big black nozzle must be used.

He also highlighted the importance of reducing oxygen whenever there is a fire as it helps the fire to burn. This could be done by closing all doors and windows, and using the fire blanket and sand which must always be kept in a bucket. He also warned of using water to reduce heat, as water is also a good conductor of heat.

He said, "To get rid of heat use water, but you cannot use water on electrical fires or flammable liquid fire".

Fire causes panic and havoc. Thinking of dying in fire and smoke make people to scramble for exit at all costs, resulting in some tripping and falling, while others succumb to smoke inhalation.

Brooks advised that all escape routes and alternatives during emergency must be clearly marked and unblocked. This must cater not only for staff, but also for the huge amount of different visitors to the museum, including children and people with physical challenges. Once everyone has been evacuated, it is very important to assemble them in one point to check if everyone is safe.

Albany Museum which was once gutted by fire in 1941, destroying some of the exhibitions in the Albany Natural Science Museum building, seems to be safer from now onwards.

Following this informative and educational session, Brooks to the staff outside to demonstrate how to use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire.

He also encouraged staff members to enroll for a fire elementary course.