10 Museums & Galleries to see in Southern Africa

Post by Sifiso Maposa

In honour of International Museum Day, here is a list of museums and galleries to see in Southern Africa.

1. The National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) – Harare, Zimbabwe


The National Art Gallery is the center for contemporary art in Zimbabwe. It was established on 16 July 1957. There are two other branches in Mutare, and Bulawayo. The gallery dedicated to the presentation and conservation of Zimbabwe’s contemporary art and visual heritage. Various respected traditions of Zimbabwean art which include stone, metal sculptures and nature paintings and are represented in the gallery. The gallery also houses the most comprehensive art library in Southern Africa. There is also a Gallery shop where visitors can purchase works of art and a selection of art books.

Website: http://www.nationalgallery.co.zw

2. Museum of Natural History (Museu de História Natural) – Maputo, Mozambique

The Museum of Natural History is the longest established museum in Mozambique and was founded in 1911. It specializes in natural history and ethnography. It houses a unique display showing the gestation of the elephant, an insect collection and a group of wildlife models complete with sound effects. The museum is housed in a beautiful colonial building in Maputo.

Address: Avenida 24 de Julho, Maputo, Mozambique.

3. South African National Gallery, Iziko Museums – Cape Town, South Africa

Founded in 1825, the museum is located in the historic Company Gardens in Cape Town. The art museum houses collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art.

Website: http://www.iziko.org.za/museums/south-african-national-gallery

4. Botswana National Museum – Gaborone, Botswana

Established in 1967 and officially opened to the public in 1968.The museum displays traditional Botswana crafts and paintings and aims to celebrate the work of local artists.It also has a collection of transport-related exhibits outside, including a steam locomotive.

Website: (site under construction) http://www.botswana-museum.gov.bw

5. National Museum of Slavery – Luanda, Angola

Founded in 1997, the museum is a memorial of the torture that was endured by thousands of people before they were shipped off to South and North America by European slave traders. The museum displays various items that were used during the slave trade. It also includes photographs taken of the enslaved and Luanda during the slave era. It also has books and audio-visual material about the slave trade.

Website: http://www.angoladigital.net

7. National History Museum – Victoria, Seychelles

The museum was founded in 1964 within the National Library Building and has collections of Seychelles’ most important historical artefacts. The collections are in the areas of botany, zoology, geology and anthropology.Some of the exhibits date back to the 15th century.

Address: National Library Building, Francis Rachel Street, Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles

8. Livingstone Museum – Zambia

The museum is the country’s biggest and oldest museum, dating back to the 1930’s.The Archaeology Gallery describes human evolution and cultural development in Zambia from Stone Age to Iron Age. The Ethnography and Art Gallery shows objects relating to the different cultures of the country including handicrafts, musical instruments.It also houses a large collection of David Livingstone memorabilia, with an interesting collection of David Livingstone’s belongings and descriptions of his routes.

Website: http://www.museumszambia.org

6. Museum of Malawi (Chichiri Museum) – Blantyre, Malawi

It is also known as Chichiri Museum.This is a historical and cultural museum displaying Malawi’s archeology, history and ethnography. The museum was opened to the public in July 1960.The Museum has one main exhibition hall where displays of natural history, ethnography, history and archaeology are organized.

Website: http://www.museum.mw

9. Swaziland National Museum – Lobamba, Swaziland

The Swaziland National Museum was founded in 1972. The Museum plays an essential role in preserving past traditions and culture for Swaziland. Its works include ethnographic material, cultural objects of South Africa Bantu groups and photography resources. A showroom is home to three royal cars once used by King Sobhuza II. There is also a library boasting an excellent collection of historic books.

Website: http://www.sntc.org.sz/cultural

10. Blue Penny Museum – Port Louis, Mauritius

Blue Penny is a stamp museum at Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis which opened in November 2001. The museum offers a close-up view of the famous Mauritius ‘Post Office’ Two-pence Blue and Penny Red stamps, dated 1847 and much prized among philatelists. The museum also has a collection of other rare artistic and historic artefacts, including postcards, posters and vintage stationery. The museum makes use of interactive and audio-visual aids to bring history to life.

Website: http://www.bluepennymuseum.com


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