Things To Do in BethalNomoya Masilela Museum
Where? Chris Hani Street, Bethal, Cosmos Country, Mpumalanga
When? Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 14h30
How? Call +27 (0)17 624-3021
How much? Free
The part of the Mpumalanga Province known as Cosmos Country is acclaimed for the bright, beautiful blooms that erupt across its countryside every year. It is within this natural splendour that the little agricultural town of Bethal is found. This town is alive with history and culture, and plays an important role in introducing locals and visitors to many of the men and women that fought against racial discrimination and, specifically, the apartheid regime of yesteryear.
The Nomoya Masilela Museum, formerly known as the Bethal Museum, is nestled within the heart of Bethal’s cultural precinct, in the central hub of the town. This museum is dedicated to those freedom fighters that worked and lived for the emancipation of all South Africans from the iron fist of racial discrimination. Today, their efforts are celebrated in the Rainbow Nation that this beautiful country has become.
The museum showcases the likes of Gert Sibande (a leader among the farm workers), Nokuthula Simelane (an Umkhonto weSizwe member that was tortured and killed for her efforts), Ruth First (known for her anti-apartheid activism), and Henry Nxumalo (an investigative journalist acclaimed for his gutsy exposés during the regime). These ones are fascinating to ‘meet’ and inspiring to remember.
The entrance is free, but donations go a long way in keeping the facility and its exhibitions current, relevant, helpful and in good condition. The exhibition comprises 24 individual parts with a number of extra-special features.
The museum’s building was built in 1910, and restored 100 years later to its former glory. It has statues of some of the freedom-fighting greats. It was named after a student that was shot during a student protest in the township in the mid-1980’s. Thereafter, this building was declared one of South Africa’s national monuments.