Museum Africa

Journey through South Africa’s social and cultural history as you examine the relics and artifacts contained in this fascinating museum complex.

A tour of Museum Africa provides glimpses into South Africa’s culture and past. Learn about significant historic events, discover archaeological relics, browse photography exhibitions and see displays of period clothing. The museum is a complex of several museums set inside an Edwardian-era building that once housed a fruit and vegetable market. 

Museum Africa’s principal exhibitions highlight social, political and economic events. Visit the Sounds of the City permanent display to follow the evolution of South African music, including Marabi slum music and township jazz. 

See a collection of political cartoons dating from the 18th century to the present day. Watch an audiovisual timeline of the Treason Trial of Nelson Mandela and 155 activists who were tried for opposing apartheid. It lasted until 1961 and all the defendants were acquitted. Another exhibition details city landmarks associated with Mahatma Gandhi and his fight against racial discrimination.  

Go to the Geology Museum to examine some of the 15,000 rock and gem samples. One of the largest geological collections in the country features diamonds, opals and rare minerals discovered across southern Africa. 

Inside the Bernberg Museum of Costume, peruse displays of period clothing. See displays and accessories from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, including dresses, jewelry, extravagant hats and shoes.   

Explore the Bensusan Museum of Photography, which showcases advances in photography since 1839. It explains how the field has evolved from the use of wet-plate printing to digital imagery. Look at hundreds of antique cameras and thousands of photographs and photography books.

Museum Africa sits to the west of downtown Johannesburg in the Newtown Cultural Precinct. The precinct has a restaurant. Other attractions in the area include the SAB World of Beer and the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, an interactive science and technology museum.

Buses stop close to the museum and Johannesburgery Centre, an interactive 20-minute walk away. Metered parking is available at Mary Fitzgerald Square, opposite the cultural attraction’s main entrance. The Museum Africa complex is open from Tuesday to Sunday and admission is free.

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