Museum Africa is Johannesburg' s social and cultural history museum. It is located in what was once the city's fruit and vegetable market, with a block-long facade, towering pillars and huge interior space. Its long-term exhibitions of social history include Cartoons in context, curated by Linda Chernis. Through accompanying text and images, the cartoons are contextualised to take viewers on an unusual journey through South African history.
By no means meant to be a comprehensive history of the country, the cartoons show small slices of the past, giving an insight into the political and social situations of the times. The exhibition draws from Museum Africa's vast collection of original political cartoons. Dating back to the late 1700s, and running through the 2000s, the exhibition shows how political cartoons can be used both as a means of oppression and as a means of protest and change.
Moving from the historical cartoons, viewers are invited to engage with the more contemporary cartoons of Sowetan cartoonist Sifiso Yalo. Yalo's work is an integral part of the exhibition, from 2003 to the present. Another long-term exhibition that continues to draw visitors to Museum Africa is Gandhi's Johannesburg: The birthplace of Satyagraha.
The Gandhi exhibition shows the buildings and places associated with Mahatma Gandhi and his struggle against discrimination, and encourages visitors to go to the sites described in the museum. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), often known as Mahatma Gandhi, was a leading political and spiritual figure in the Indian independence movement. He pioneered satyagraha ¨C resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience.
Johannesburg tracks: Mapping sexuality in the city follows the routes of eight gay, lesbian and transgender people through Johannesburg. It tells the story of the city from a different perspective, and shows the way that "the gay experiences" is part of the very fabric of Johannesburg.