Arts writer

CONNECT with family and friends for a fun-filled week of free entertainment and education at Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko). This invitation is for all communities to celebrate our living legacy during Heritage Week, from September 21 to 27. This in_herit festival will offer a multifaceted programme of guided tours, film screenings, interactive activities and displays.

Catch the Iziko Mobile Museum at the Umthombo Wempilo NGO in Makaza, Khayelitsha on September 19 and West End Primary School in Mitchells Plain on September 22. The Mobile museum breaks traditional conventions by taking the museum to the people.

This “museum without walls” ensures that visitors who would not normally go to a museum have the opportunity to engage with our heritage. The mobile museum showcases indigenous objects, artefacts as well as specimens that tell the story of our art, social and natural history.

Leading up to Heritage Week, discover your roots through archaeology displays and film screenings such as Mutiny on the Slave Ship Meermin and Your Inner Fish, as well as an insightful talk by palaeontologist Dr Roger Smith.

On Heritage Day you can participate in informative walkabouts at several museums and exhibitions. Meet the curators Shanaaz Galant and Lynn Carneson and for guided tours of the exhibitions: Singing Freedom: Music and the struggle against apartheid, and Red in the Rainbow at Iziko Slave Lodge.

The single greatest symbol of the transatlantic slave trade is the ships that carried captive Africans across the Atlantic never to return. Join Social History curator, Paul Tichmann and marine archaeologist, Jake Harding, for a public discussion The Slave Ship: Sao Jose and the Mozambicans at the Cape following the recent announcement of the São José slave wreck, discovered off the coast of Cape Town, which made international news.

At the Iziko SA Museum, discover amazing natural history displays, experience behind-the-scenes-tours, and unearth 250-million-year-old fossils with the venue’s fossil ‘preparators’. Children will also have the opportunity to join a museum movie marathon of Night at the Museum 1, 2 and 3 in the TH Barry Lecture Theatre. Explore the universe and galaxies, marvel at the Milky Way and travel to the stars at the Iziko Planetarium. Free Davy Dragon and the Star City shows will run on the hour from 11am to 2pm on the day. Arrive early and collect your tickets at the ISAM Reception.

Get creative at painting sessions at the Iziko SA National Gallery. Each session will kick off with a viewing of Moses Tladi’s garden paintings, followed by experiencing the Company's Gardens in a new way through paint. Participants will be able to leave with their own masterpiece. For the older children, sharpen your drawing skills at a cartoon workshop hosted by artist, illustrator and cartoonist, Vernon Fourie.

At Groot Constantia Wine Farm, visitors can look forward to a historical tour of the estate, a pottery workshop, book launch and the Amazing Groot Constantia Heritage Race. First, second and third place finalists will each receive prizes.

This year, the theme of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) is, “Our indigenous know-ledge, our heritage: Towards the identification, promotion and preservation of South Africa’s living heritage.”

“Celebrate, debate and elevate your heritage not only gives expression to the DAC theme, but takes the conversation to our audiences. Our programme places ownership of our cultural heritage in the hands, hearts and voices of the public,” says Rooksana Omar, CEO, Iziko Museums of SA.

“Through these inter-generational dialogues and public engagements, Iziko creates platforms for individuals from all walks of life to identify the need to tell their stories and reconnect with the past in order to shape the future. Museums are powerful places where we tell the story of our shared heritage and unfold the multiple layers of our world through exhibitions and artefacts. The manner in which we opt to preserve and communicate these collective memories is integral to our society as a diverse nation,” she concluded.

“Iziko is committed to identifying and preserving indigenous knowledge and heritage through its art, social history and natural history collections, as well as its education and public programmes department. Our dedicated team of scientists and curators continue to push the boundaries in their respective fields, and help to promote and safeguard our living heritage for current and future generations.”

Events at the Planetarium and Castle of Good Hope are free on September 24 only.

l For programme details: www.iziko.org.za/calendar/event/in-herit-festival-2015

Join their online community: www.facebook.com/IzikoMuse ums, or follow them on Twitter (@Iziko_Museums) for regular updates on events, news and new exhibitions.