African gold art to be removed from public eye

Times Live | Bobby Jordan:


South Africa’s only gold museum is closing down despite desperate efforts to keep it going.

Gold of Africa museum curator Christopher Till confirmed this week that the museum would close in six weeks’ time on instructions from AngloGold Ashanti.

“I’ve put a lot of time and effort into creating this little jewel box,” Till said. “It is a hard moment for me to dismantle all of that. The visiting public have loved it, but it is out of my hands.” File photo Image by: Dudu Zitha

It is the biggest museum of its kind. It showcases the indigenous gold-making traditions of sub-Saharan Africa and houses exquisite artefacts. There is also a jewellery workshop and restaurant.

Till, who also curates the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, said the important exhibition material had been bought from a Swiss museum and relocated to the Cape Town facility.

AngloGold Ashanti, one of the world’s biggest mining companies, planned to move this to one of its own properties, Till said.

Ironically, the museum, located in a historic 18th-century building, was at the centre of attention this week when it played host to an annual “thought leader” event featuring dozens of prominent academics and researchers. Many expressed shock on hearing that the museum was due to close.

Historically the gold mining industry has been one of the driving forces in South Africa and the country holds almost half the world’s gold reserves.

AngloGold Ashanti could not be reached for comment.


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