Things To Do in Durban CentralKwaMuhle Museum
Where? 130 Bram Fischer Road, Durban, KwaZulu Natal.
When? Monday to Saturday 08h30 to 16h00
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
How? Call +27 (0)31 311-2237
How much? Free
Apartheid was a South African political regime that was based on discrimination, and was in effect from 1948 to 1994. It was a painful time for South Africa and its people, but it also played a major role in moulding the multifaceted face of freedom that this country now enjoys. The KwaMuhle Museum in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, is dedicated to looking at the apartheid system with an open mind, honouring those that fought against it and exploring its effects on modern society in a positive and optimistic light.
“Kwa muhle” is a Zulu term that means “the place of the good one” and was named in reference to its first manager, Mr Marwick. This man helped no fewer than 7 000 Zulu people to escape Gauteng (then called the Transvaal) during the Anglo-Boer War. He was thus instrumental in saving the lives of thousands of native South Africans in a time when their blood was sought by settlers and farmers.
The KwaMuhle Museum is situated in a building that was once one of the most despised structures in Durban, the Department of Native Affairs. This government department had the task of enforcing the legislation put into place by an apartheid system, which discriminated against non-white folk and often made life extremely difficult for these ones. This building has, however, been transformed into a place of hope and optimism, a place in which diversity is celebrated and those who were once a part of the struggle against injustice are honoured. It was designed in 1927, and built the following year. The building now houses a record for the many cultural sectors that make up the Rainbow Nation that South Africa is.
It is one of only four major local history museums in Durban. The other museums under this umbrella are the Old House Museum, Old Court House Museum and the Port Natal Maritime Museum. Visiting each of these institutions will certainly give visitors a well rounded idea of past and present South Africa, and will impart important lessons on how to go about shaping the future.
The exhibitions at KwaMuhle Museum include photographs and videos, as well as remnants and objects from the South Africa of yesteryear. This holistic approach gives the museum the edge in terms of appealing to different aspects of the human spirit and its tenacious determination to survive, no matter what.
In addition to local and international visitors, the KwaMuhle Museum is enormously valuable to researchers, historians, students and social scientists that are keen to explore South Africa’s past and present.
The Durban Art Gallery and the eThekwini City Hall are both situated close to the museum, and are a fabulous addition to your cultural and historical experience of this bustling, modern city. In addition, city tours are available, giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about the coastal city and its national and international identity.
Entrance to the museum is free, and visitors are advised to set aside a few hours to explore the many exhibits and treasures that are concealed within the walls of this establishment. It is only closed on Sundays and public holidays.