MUSEUMS TO TAKE CENTRE STAGE IN PASSBOOK COMPETITION
By: Tinashe Watungwa
Primary school children can now get in touch with the country’s history.
The eThekwini Municipality in association with the Local History Museums launched the Durban Passbook Competition at Bergtheil Museum yesterday. Various school teachers and municipality officials graced the beginning of this initiative, which is aimed at encouraging school children to visit the different historical sites in and around Durban.
Local History Museums Director Bheki Mchunu highlighted that museums are as important as libraries. “Museums should be looked at in the same way as libraries. It’s important to begin to present that museums are as important as libraries in terms of being repositories of knowledge,” said Mchunu.
He also added that the competition should be a chance for children to know their history and heritage. “It (the competition) should be a catalyst to a long thorough growing intervention to ensure that we all begin to work towards a well-informed society.”
According to the organising committee, the word “Passbook” was made a title of the initiative to symbolise the apartheid era in which non-white people were issued passbooks in order to acquire access to the ‘white-only’ areas. In the same way, every participating pupil in the competition will be granted a passbook which will allow them into various heritage sites, and to give learners a brief idea of how carrying a passbook was important.
Six local history museums will be visited throughout the course of this competition which runs from the 2nd of April to the 28th of June 2013. Out of the six, i.e. Bergtheil Museum, Cato Manor Heritage Centre, Old House Museum, Pinetown Museum, Palmiet Nature Reserve, and Marianhill Museum, the schools will be required to visit four museums in order to qualify for the final draw in which the winning school will walk away with a grand prize of R10 000.
Education Officer Thevan Harry said that the competition would assist in informing young people of the valuable items they have in their area. “Museums are part of exploration. By having this competition, it is to encourage and show the young people of the assets in their area and they can inform their parents,” Continued Harry.
The competition is said to be a pilot programme which will see high schools being included at a later stage. The date of the draw is yet to be finalised.