Situated in the heart of the Newtown Cultural Precinct, MuseuMAfricA is Johannesburg's premier history museum. The museum is housed in what was once the city's first fruit and vegetable market, a building constructed for this purpose in 1913 and which, at the time, was a fine example of the advances made in industrial building techniques. In the early 1905, the market building was imaginatively adapted to house MuseuMAfricA, a new museum that opened its doors in 1994, the year of South Africa's first non-racial democratic elections. Conceived in the midst of the country's political transition to democracy, the museum's permanent displays focus on the history of Johannesburg in the 20th century.
MuseuMAfricA's principal permanent exhibition is "Johannesburg Transformations" which examines some of the momentous changes that have swept through the city in the last century. The discovery of gold has played a seminal role in the birth and development of the city and the displays which make up "Johannesburg Transformations" plot the political, economic and social effects of gold on the city's history and its people. Visitors can discover what the impact of gold was on the workers, how their struggle led to the emergence of a unique urban culture, and the punishing effects which the housing crisis had on their lives resulting in the development of informal settlements across the city. Finally, the struggle for a democratic South Africa ends off this exhibition by detailing the long walk to political freedom.
Visitors can also see "Tried for Treason", a display which deals with the five-year trial of 156 people, including Nelson Mandela, who were arrested and charged for their anti-apartheid activities. Although all 156 accused were acquitted, this trial marked a turning point in the resistance movement. Apart from its historical displays, the museum also houses the South African Rock Art Museum, the Bensusan Museum of Photography and the Geological Museum.
This is the only museum, which attempts to tell the story of life in Southern Africa from the stone age to nuclear age and beyond. It tells this story with honesty and objectivity, using its extensive collections, recent research, and the advice of experts in the fields of geology, archaeology, anthropology and history; The section on Johannesburg features models of Batswana & Bushman people. In addition to a gallery of ancient San (Bushman) rock art, there is an interesting section on a more recent phenomenon- squatter camps and shebeens.
Open Tuesday - Sunday 9am - 5pm. Closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday and Day of Goodwill