The Apartheid Museum details the injustice, cruelty, and absurdities of white minority rule in South Africa. Apartheid, meaning “separateness” in Afrikaans, was officially in effect from 1948 to 1994, though segregation had been a cornerstone of South African politics since the country’s inception. The museum is dedicated to helping South Africa overcome its oppressive past and look toward the future.
Johannesburg city tours and Soweto tours typically feature a stop at the Apartheid Museum, with some including an in-depth tour. The museum tells the story of 20th-century apartheid through photos, documents, and film footage, as well as interactive features that bring the history of racial classification to life. The end of South African segregation in 1990 (following former president Nelson Mandela’s release from prison) is celebrated by the seven pillars of the country’s post-apartheid constitution in the courtyard: democracy, equality, reconciliation, diversity, responsibility, respect, and freedom.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The museum presents the sometimes shocking reality of apartheid, and some parts may be inappropriate for young kids.
- Visitors should plan for about two hours to explore the museum fully.
- The museum is fully wheelchair accessible.
- Guided Apartheid Museum tours are available by advance booking only for groups of more than 15, with a small charge on top of admission.
How to Get There
The Apartheid Museum is in Johannesburg’s southern section of Ormonde and can be reached from the center of the city along the Villiers Graaff Motorway. Hop-on, hop-off bus tours typically have a stop outside the Apartheid Museum.
When to Get There
The museum is open daily from 9am to 5pm. To avoid crowds, it is best to arrive right at opening time or later in the day closer to closing time.
Nelson Mandela’s Influence
Mandela was one of the most important leaders in the abolition of apartheid. The museum holds a copy of his speech to parliament and a video of the moment he was released from prison after 27 years.