The Apartheid Museum went operational in 2001; and is primarily dedicated to exhibitions pertaining to the former reprehensible regime of apartheid in South Africa. Exhibitions in the museum provide a well serviced chronology of how the brutal political mindset of apartheid emerged, and the series of dramatic and sometimes tragic events that resulted in the ultimate collapse of that barbaric regime. Equally on display in the museum are the experiences of the selfless heroes, who took this brutal political bull by the horn; and served as a thorn in the flesh of its retrograde agenda. Therefore, the museum offers an illustrative visual panorama of the rise and fall of apartheid.
The museum occupies a surface area of seven hectares; depicting a terrific epitome of design, space and landscape; which offers the international community a unique South African experience.
The exhibits have been assembled and organised by a multi-disciplinary team of curators, film-makers, historians and designers. They include provocative film footage, photographs, text panels and artefacts illustrating the events and human stories that are part of the epic saga, known as apartheid.
A series of 22 individual exhibition areas takes the visitor through a dramatic emotional journey that recounts the tragedy of a state-sanctioned system, based on racial discrimination and the endless struggle of the majority to unseat this tyranny. The museum provides a vivid illustration of the methods and formulae employed by this autocratic regime, to suppress its victims of circumstances. Themes on exhibition include the following: race classification; journeys, segregation, apartheid, life under apartheid, the homelands, the rise of black consciousness, political executions, roots of compromise, Mandela’s release etc.
Between 1994 and 1996, South Africa's first fully democratic parliament, sitting as the Constitutional Assembly, enacted South Africa's new constitution, which contains clauses designed for the extensive guarantee of equality than anywhere else in the world. Critical to this scheme are seven fundamental values which are represented by the seven pillars in the first courtyard; comprising: democracy, equality, reconciliation, diversity, responsibility, respect and freedom.