South Africa // Gauteng //

The Apartheid Museum

Some 15km south of the city centre along the M1 is the excellent Apartheid Museum, featuring separate entrances for “whites” and “non-whites” (your race is randomly assigned): truly a world-class museum, delivering a sophisticated visual history that is distressing, inspiring and illuminating. The museum offers a nuanced insight into the deep social damage wrought by apartheid – and by colonial policies that long preceded it – and helps to explain the persistence of poverty and racial tension in the new South Africa. On the other hand, the museum’s visual account of the jubilant advent of democracy serves to remind us how miraculous the transition was.

Give yourself plenty of time to view the permanent exhibition of photographs by Peter Magubane of the 1976 Soweto uprising, and don’t miss the exhilarating short documentary on the State of Emergency during the mid-1980s, when a wave of mass demonstrations and riots, though violently suppressed, shook the resolve of the regime.