A Place That Matters Yet: John Gubbins's MuseumAfrica in the by Sara Byala

By Sara Byala

A position That issues Yet reveals the little-known tale of Johannesburg’s MuseumAfrica, a South African background museum that embodies probably the most dynamic and fraught tales of colonialism and postcolonialism, its existence spanning the eras ahead of, in the course of, and after apartheid. Sara Byala, in interpreting this tale, sheds new gentle not just on racism and its institutionalization in South Africa but in addition at the difficulties dealing with any museum that's charged with navigating colonial historical past from a postcolonial perspective.


Drawing on thirty years of private letters and public writings by way of museum founder John Gubbins, Byala paints an image of a uniquely revolutionary colonist, targeting his philosophical inspiration of “three-dimensional thinking,” which aimed to go beyond binaries and thus—quite explicitly—racism. regrettably, Gubbins died inside weeks of the museum’s beginning, and his hopes may move unrealized because the museum fell in response to emergent apartheid politics. Following the museum via this modification and directly to its 1994 reconfiguration as a post-apartheid establishment, Byala showcases it as a rich—and problematic—archive of either fabric tradition and the guidelines that encompass that tradition, arguing for its persisted value within the institution of a unified South Africa.

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