Pretoria - The Apartheid Museum is internationally recognised as a custodian of South Africa's apartheid history, but few people know that the museum exists because of the granting of a casino licence.
When the Gambling Board starting the bidding process for casino licences in 1995, one of the requirements was that prospective casino operators had to stipulate how they would grow the economy of the province in which the respective casinos would be located, as well as promote tourism.
Among the bids received was one from a consortium named Akani Egoli (Gold Reef City). Their bid - which was accepted by the board - included the building of a museum on a piece of land adjacent to what is now the Gold Reef City casino complex. The museum, which cost around R80 million, was officially opened in November 2001.
The museum allows patrons to immerse themselves in the experience of racial segregation which was a daily reality for South Africans. The entrance to the museum is through a set of turnstiles which are marked Whites and Non-Whites, as most public buildings were during apartheid.
Visitors are taken on a journey through state-sanctioned racial segregation by means of 22 exhibition areas which show the resilience and strength of the citizens who rose above the brutal oppression of the Afrikaner-run National Party to become an example of forgiveness and transformation to the rest of the world.
Most of the exhibits are audiovisual and include both permanent exhibitions as well as special exhibitions which commemorate milestones in the country's history. The museum also offers a number of downloadable classroom resources to help educators bring the history of apartheid to life.
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