South Africa's Eastern Cape

The Sukume Museum in Port Elizabeth

The Sukume Museum and Xhosa Culture Centre is an unassuming little treasure nestled behind the massive Walmer Township of Port Elizabeth. It may be small and basic, but that does not mean that what is inside is not fascinating and fun for young and old alike. In fact, the humble exterior belies the intriguing experience beyond the doors.

 

The purpose of this facility is primarily to uplift the local community, giving people (especially mothers) the opportunity to improve their own lives, gain training and educate their children. The attached primary school is, therefore, of utmost importance to the local families, many of whom cannot afford school fees. Therefore, the goods that are available at this museum (arts, crafts, clothing and accessories) have all been made by these children’s mothers, and the proceeds go towards the education of the little ones.

 

There is also a massive drive on educating the local families about HIV and AIDS. This requires that trained counsellors work on a volunteer basis.

 

The mothers were recently asked how they would like to invest the funds raised through the museum, and they decided on vegetable tunnels to facilitate the healthy lifestyle that children, families and those living with HIV and AIDS require. So, Sukume now boasts several tunnels in which they grow fresh vegetables too.

 

The museum is small, but includes exhibits of a typical shack, artwork created by local artists and photographs that tell intriguing tales of times past.

 

A formal tour can be arranged, and can include exciting features such as:

  • A donkey ride through the township with a tour guide
  • A taste of local Xhosa dishes
  • A visit to a shebeen (a traditional pub)
  • Xhosa performances put on by the local community (at a small extra fee)
  • Tours of the school and the Human Dignity Centre
  • An explanation of some of the main Xhosa customs (such as lobola, ancestor worship, and so on)

The way of life in a township has become a veritable South African culture in its own right. However, these informal settlements were established as a result of the Apartheid regime that once governed the country. Therefore, the tours and information provided outline this way of governing and how it shaped the country.

 

See great photos of the Museum at: Firefly Photo Files – Sukume Museum

 

Find the Sukume Museum at:

Victoria Drive, Walmer

041 366 2082 / 084 419 1303

GPS: Latitude : -34° 0′ 4.67″ S; Longitude : 25° 34′ 28.81″ E

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