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.