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.