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.
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