Iziko Museums of South Africa

Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko) operates 11 national museums[1], a Planetarium, Social History Centre (archive) and three collection-specific libraries in Cape Town.

The name Iziko, an isiXhosa word, meaning ‘hearth’, is intended to embody the spirit of a transformed institution and our vision of African Museums of Excellence. The hearth is traditionally and symbolically the social centre of the home; a place associated with warmth, kinship and the spirits of ancestors. Iziko was thus envisaged as a space for all South Africans to gather, nourish body and soul, and share stories and knowledge passed from one generation to the next. Iziko seeks to celebrate our heritage whilst generating new cultural legacies in all spheres for future generations and a society that has moved beyond the shackles of the past. The three ‘flames’ in our hearth logo represent the three collections brought together in our museums: Social History (ochre); Art (red); and Natural History (green). These are made accessible to learners and the public through Education and Public Programmes.

Functions/ mandate:

Transformation is not possible simply through a process of “restructuring and rationalization”[2]. Moving out of the past and into the present means repositioning and reinventing our museums and practice. This is central to Iziko’s mandate, vision and mission to ensure relevance and maximum benefit for all, now and in the future. All Iziko’s activities are underpinned by the understanding that museums can benefit all South Africans, particularly young people to become active and reflective participants in society and in their own learning.

Understanding of culture both contemporary and past, assists new generations to build collective intelligence that strengthens the fabric of society and inspires forward trajectory and development. Our museums are not only spaces of memory that celebrate our cultural diversity, they are spaces where both knowledge and culture is generated; and an integral part of the life of communities and cities; with the potential to contribute significantly to vital processes of social and economic development.   

Inspired by our vision of being “African Museums of Excellence that empower and inspire all people to celebrate and respect our diverse heritage”, over the past decade Iziko has emerged as a leading player in the heritage sector in Africa and is acknowledged as a benchmark for South African museums.

Iziko comprises of five previously independent clusters of national museums, amalgamated by the Cultural Institutions Act in1998 as a Schedule 3A public entity and partly subsidised by the national Department of Arts and Culture (DAC). This amalgamation formed part of the strategic efforts to create national heritage institutions aligned with the new government's transformation imperatives as reflected in the Constitution and the White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage.

Iziko’s Strategic Plan thus responds to the imperatives they outline, and in addition, supports government’s social cohesion implementation framework and the new national growth path development.


[1]Iziko operates the following national museums, each with its own history and char­acter presenting extensive art, social and natural history collections that reflect our diverse African heritage:   Iziko South African Museum and Iziko Planetarium ; Iziko South African National Gallery; The Iziko Old Town House, (on Green Market Square); Iziko Slave Lodge Museum; Iziko Bertram House Museum; Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum; Iziko Koopmans-De Wet House Museum; Iziko Groot Constantia Manor House Museum; Iziko Rust en Vreugd Museum; Iziko William Fehr Collection (at the Castle of Good Hope); Iziko Maritime Centre  (at the V&A Waterfront); Iziko SAS Somerset (a museum ship at the V&A Waterfront)

General Enquiries

Iziko South African Museum

25 Queen Victoria Street

Cape Town

PO Box 61, Cape Town, 8000

Tel: +27 (0)21 481 3800
Fax: +27 (0)21 481 3993
Email: info@iziko.org.za
Web: http://www.iziko.org.za/
Facebook: Iziko Museums of South Africa

Twitter: @Iziko_Museums

 Iziko Museums of South Africa

Iziko South African Museum (ISAM)

The South African Museum houses more than one and a half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700-million years old to insects and fish caught last week. There are also stone tools made by people 120 000 years ago, traditional clothes from the last century, and T-shirts printed yesterday.

The South African Museum was founded in 1825. In 1897 the Museum moved to its present building in the historic Company's Garden. Since then millions of visitors have wandered its halls and corridors to be stimulated and inspired by its collections and exhibitions. They have left the Museum with a better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present.

Contact details

Operating hours: Daily from 10h00 to 17h00
Closed on: Workers' Day and Christmas Day
Tel: +27 (0)21 481 3800
Location: 25 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens, Cape Town

Iziko South African National Gallery (ISANG)

South Africa's premier art museum houses outstanding collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art. Selections from the Permanent Collection change regularly to enable the museum to have a full programme of temporary exhibitions of paintings, works on paper, photography, sculpture, beadwork, textiles and architecture.

They provide insight into the extraordinary range of aesthetic production in this country, the African continent and further afield.

Contact details

Operating hours: Daily from 10h00 to 17h00
Tel: +27 (0)21 481 3970
Fax: +27 (0)21 467 4680
Location: Government Avenue, Company's Garden, Cape Town


Iziko William Fehr Collection at the Castle of Good Hope

William Fehr Collection at the Castle of Good Hope

Fine and interesting examples of paintings and decorative arts of special relevance to the Cape are to be found in the William Fehr Collection at the Castle of Good hope, William Fehr was born in 1892 in Burghersdorp. A businessman by profession, he cherished a love of pictorial art. It was in the late 1920s that his attention turned to collecting South African-related paintings, prints and drawings. He later extended his interest to furniture and other objects.

William Fehr acquired objects and art works at a time when there were still few private collectors and little systematic collecting by local public institutions. He lent his collection for public exhibition at the Castle in 1952. In 1964 the South African government purchased his oil paintings, furniture, ceramics metal and glassware. In the following year he donated his unique collection of art works on paper to South Africans, to be placed in Rust en Vreugd, a short distance away from the Castle. Dr William Fehr died in 1968

The collections contain wealth of historical information concerning the peoples and landscapes of early colonial South Africa and reflect the outlook and aesthetics of one person. It is one of the most important public collections of artefacts of the period.

Contact details
Buitenkant Street, opposite the Grand Parade, Cape Town
Open daily from 09h00 to 16h00
Closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
Tel: +27 (0)21 467 7223
Enquiries: Tel: +27 (0)21 467 7205

Iziko Slave Lodge (ISL)

The Slave Lodge is one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town. The many names of the building over three centuries – Slave Lodge, Government Offices Building, Old Supreme Court, and SA Cultural History Museum reflect the long and rich history of the building.

In 1998 this museum was renamed the Slave Lodge. The Iziko Slave Lodge - a building with a complex and often painful history. Once a space associated with inequalities; this building symbolized brutal oppression, the yearning for freedom and resistance to oppression.  Today, Iziko Museums of South Africa is committed to transforming the Lodge from “a site of human wrongs to human rights” to a space connecting us to our past – raising awareness of issues of human rights, equality and justice.

Contact details
Corner Adderley and Wale Streets, Cape Town
Open from Monday to Saturday from 10h00 to 17h00
Closed on Sundays, Workers' Day and Christmas Day
Tel: +27 (0)21 467 7229
Fax: +27 (0)21 460 8238
Enquiries: Tel: +27 (0)21 467 7215

Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum (IBK)

The Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum situated in the historic area that became home to many Muslims and freed slaves after the abolition of slavery, showcases local Islamic culture and heritage. The Bo-Kaap itself is well worth a visit. Colourful houses, steep cobbled streets, the muezzin’s calls to prayer, and children traditionally dressed for Madrassa, add to this unique Cape experience.

The Museum was established in 1978 as a satellite of the SA Cultural History Museum. It was furnished as a house that depicts the lifestyle of a nineteenth-century Muslim family. This social history museum tells the story of the local community within a national socio-political and cultural context.

Contact details
71 Wale Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town
Open from Mondays to Saturdays from 10h00 to 17h00
Closed on Sundays, Workers' Day, Christmas Day, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha and January 2
Tel: +27 (0)21 481 3938
Fax: +27 (0)21 481 3938