- Discover the history of slavery in South Africa
- View collections of ceramics, silverware and Egyptology from various parts of the world
- Expert use of art, video, images, and other media in a moving exhibition
The Iziko Slave Lodge was originally used to house slaves, and is the second oldest building in Cape Town. A site with a painful past, it now serves as a reminder and pays homage to the enslaved both past and present. The museum is geared toward creating awareness of human rights, and through its inspiring exhibit, shares difficult narratives including the history of slavery in the Cape and the trans-Atlantic slave trade, as well as contemporary social matters.
This historic building has had many names over three centuries. Built in 1679, it was initially christened the Slave Lodge by the Dutch East India Company. The Slave Lodge was believed to house up to 9,000 slaves, convicts and mentally ill locals between its erection and 1811. In 1810, the building served as government offices before being restored in 1960 for use as the South African Museum. The name changed in 1969 to the South African Cultural History Museum. Finally, in 1998, the building was renamed the Slave Lodge. Under the umbrella theme, “From human wrongs to rights”, the museum provides insight into the long history of slavery in South Africa.
Closed Sunday, Christmas Day, Worker’s Day (1 May)
Iziko Slave Lodge
Advice for visitors
It is worth renting an audio-guided tour of the museum for a more detailed sense of the life of a slave. Make a point to experience the Meermin slave ship, which offers an intriguing look into what slaves went through on their journey to the Cape. Though it has less to do with the history of slavery, the HIV/Aids Exhibition has proven a must-visit by guests of the museum, as it portrays a different kind of enslavement. Don’t miss the permanent exhibition upstairs which has displays detailing everything from silver to music history. The building is connected to the colonial/botanical gardens which provides a small break from the museum’s through-provoking history.
Did you know
The Slave Lodge is built on the site where the former slave market in Cape Town once stood.