By TOLERATE CHILOANE
Stakeholders from the Sarah Baartman District reviewed the province’s draft museums and heritage policy at the Albany Museum on 11 August 2022. And many seemed concerned about its effective implementation.
Stakeholders included King Lebongula Foundation representative Sizwe Mda, Rhodes University International Library of African Music (ILAM), Sarah Baartman museum and heritage resources assistant director Zandisile Sakata, principal museum human scientist Nosipho Magoswa, and heritage resources management deputy director Nandipha Ncombo.
Sizwe Mda from King Lobengula Foundation said some museums had been performing everything expected from them for the past years without government support, despite the policy.
Rhodes University Master’s student Emma Dickson-Bow asked how the policy would meet the aim of developing all museums in the region and about the distribution of funds. “For example, a museum in Port Alfred is run by the community and mostly depends on funds from visitors and retired volunteers. Despite the content of this museum, it is not running to its total capacity,” she added.
The policy states that the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Directorate, responsible for museums, may fund museum projects, provided they benefit the community.
Dickson-Bow was also concerned about how the policy would be effectively implemented throughout the province and shared for public knowledge.
While these were valid questions, Eastern Cape provincial office deputy director Sitati Gitywa, who chaired the meeting, said that he was merely presenting the draft and that the meeting was not about dwelling on the past or implementing the policy. However, he said concerns raised could be noted and included in the draft policy.
Gitywa suggested that members of the public or stakeholders who want to add or have concerns about the policies should email the Sarah Baartman District principal museum human scientist Nosipho Magoswa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Makana Municipality executive mayoral committee member and Albany Museum chairperson Ramie Xonxa said the policies provided a coherent framework for the administration, operation, and maintenance of museums in the province.