The Iziko Slave Lodge
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The Slave Lodge is the second oldest building in Cape Town, built in 1679.
This Cape Town museum was built in 1679 as the slave lodge of the Dutch East India Company. Today, it is in the process of being transformed into a permanent museum of slavery.
In this way, the Iziko museum's custodians plan to transform the Lodge into a tribute to the up to 9000 slaves, convicts and the mentally ill that are believed to have lived in the building between 1679 and 1811.
An orientation centre on slavery at the Cape is already complete. It documents the Cape's role in the Indian Ocean slave trade route, where slaves were brought to the Cape from Indonesia, India-Ceylon, Madagascar and Mozambique.
Exhibits at the Iziko Slave Lodge include an installation that evokes the cramped conditions of slaves aboard a slave ship. An alcove features an interactive column of light commemorating the slaves. Each ring in the column is inscribed with the names of slave inmates and turning it is symbolises a process of remembering them. The rings in turn are associated with tree rings and the passing of time. Finally, a room uses sound, projected images and animation to take visitors into the dark and oppressive conditions of slaves' lives in the Slave Lodge.
As well as having been a Slave Lodge, the building also served as government offices in the nineteenth and early twentieth century's, until its restoration in 1960 for use as a cultural history museum. It is also one of the biggest and oldest examples of Dutch East India Company slave lodges in the world, making the building an artefact in itself.
Along with its permanent exhibits, the Slave Lodge hosts travelling exhibitions that raise current civil and human rights issues around the world and pay tribute to those "who have been forgotten, denied and stigmatised". Past exhibitions have included ‘The Struggle Against Separate Schooling in America', 'African Slaves in Brazil' and a photographic collection highlighting the role of women in the struggle against Apartheid.
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Who to contact
The Iziko Slave Lodge
Tel: +27 (0)21 460 8242