Looters Ravage Anti-Apartheid Museum


Residents of a South African shantytown have forced the closure of a museum honoring anti-apartheid campaigners, according to Art Daily.

The Red Location Museum, located on the outskirts of the New Brighton township in the South African city of Port Elizabeth, closed nine months ago following reports that tourists and visitors were frequently threatened and assaulted by residents; efforts to reopen led to violent protests.

The building is now being taken apart by locals helping themselves to electrical wiring, water pipes, power sockets, fencing and wooden fittings for their shacks. Chris du Preez, the museum’s acting assistant director says no artifacts or documents were stolen or damaged during the looting.

The museum, which is housed in a modern $2 million building that has won numerous international architectural awards, stands in stark contrast to the makeshift shacks in the surrounding community.

Community leader Thembisile Klaas told the AFP, “Why build a house for dead people when us the living don’t not have a roof over our heads? We are living in shacks which get flooded each time it rains . . . and yet the municipality spends millions of rands on building a museum.”

The museum is based around 12 ‘memory boxes’—room sized containers inspired by the boxes migrant workers used to keep their belongings. Each box contains photographs and artifacts offering a different version of the apartheid struggle in South Africa.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.


Article topics
Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In