Reflect on the impact and legacy of apartheid and learn about the contribution of Nelson Mandela and others to South Africa's new constitution.
The Apartheid Museum tells the story of 20th century South Africa with a focus on the system of racial segregation that was enforced for more than 50 years. Through photographs, videos, installations and interactive displays, find out more about one of the most tumultuous periods in the country's history.
The first reminder of race classification comes at the entrance to the museum, where there are signs for whites and non-whites. Visitors are randomly assigned an entrance to go through. Once inside, read stories about Jan Smuts and J.B.M. Hertzog, the politicians who established racial segregation. Study photographs by acclaimed photographer Ernest Cole who documented what life was like for black South Africans living under apartheid.
See the exhibit of 131 nooses suspended from the ceiling. They represent the number of political prisoners who were executed during apartheid. Browse displays about key figures in the anti-apartheid struggle, including Stephen Biko. Look at the exhibition about the 1976 protest by Soweto schoolchildren, a pivotal moment in the battle for equality.
Watch videos of landmark moments in South African history, including Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. Follow a timeline of Mandela’s life from his rural upbringing to his election as president in 1994.
In the New Constitution exhibition, read inscriptions of the core values of the new South Africa. They are the same words that appear on the Pillars of the Constitution at the museum's entrance. Pick up a stone from the right hand side of the exhibit and place it on the pile on the left. Visitors are invited to do this as a commitment to end discrimination.
The Apartheid Museum is a 10-minute drive from downtown Johannesburg. Free parking is available at the adjacent theme park, Gold Reef City. There is no public transport service between the museum and city center, but a sightseeing bus stops here.
The museum is open every day except Good Friday and Christmas Day. There are admission fee discounts for pensioners, students and children, and guided tours are available for a supplementary fee. These must be booked in advance.