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The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Saturday Spot: Se7en Visit the Iziko Slave Lodge and the Company Gardens…

August 6th, 2012 · 12 Comments

When we were at the South African Museum recently we saw a list of the twelve Iziko Museums on the wall. My kids have set themselves the target to visit these museums before the end of the year… I’m all for it, apart from the fabulous history they are learning about our city these outings are practically free!!! Most of the Iziko museums are free to school age kids, and the adult price tag is minimal… have a look at their website before you dash out… but great to discover that Cape Town has a couple of fabulous outings that locals can afford.

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First up was the Iziko Slave Lodge…

We headed down Government Avenue in the pouring rain…

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Of course typical Cape Town winter – the sun pops out… and in… and out and in…

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Past all sorts of stately buildings, like De Tuynhuis…
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And Parliament…

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And St Georges Cathedral…

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And huge statues…

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And we were there…
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A beautiful old building at the top of town…
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Looking up Wales street, towards the mountain one way…
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And down Adderly Street towards the harbour the other way…
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Entering into the Iziko Slave Lodge Museum is a step back in time as slaves were introduced to the Cape in 1658 by the Dutch East India Company. The museum is on the site of the original slave lodge. A large part of the museum is devoted to the slaves themselves who really were invisible to the people of the time – many of their names going undocumented. The museum is not only about slavery it provides an all round picture of life at the Cape during the time of the Dutch East India Company rule.

The first thing room to look at was an introduction to slavery at the Cape…

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And a sobering look at slavery around the world today…

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This is a museum where you are not allowed to take photographs… So here are se7en + 1 things you can see when you visit this museum:

  1. Models of the building as it would have been in olden times.
  2. Lots to read about the lives of the slaves and the lives of the gentry of the day. A lot of great artefacts that provide great significance to the saga of slavery at the Cape.
  3. A room modelled to feel like you on the under decks of a slave ship, with murals of life onboard. My kids really liked this and enjoyed the “real” feeling of the ship…
  4. Otherwise there are many rooms containing artefacts from the era… crockery, cutlery, snuff boxes and even an old pair of spectacles.
  5. A music room… with instruments of the day.
  6. A toy room filled with toys that children would have played with in the days of a young Cape Town… lots of very interesting things to look at!!! Dominoes, dolls, a play kitchen to die for and the most stunning wooden Noah’s Ark that was kept specially for playing on Sundays!!!
  7. An old chemist shop, apothecary, filled with things to look at… rows of curious looking jars and huge books and models of folk dressed as they would have dressed way back when.
  8. And the se7en + 1th Thing…

  9. And the favourite room to explore, remember we have five boys… the weapons room!!! It is a bit of a timeline of weaponry at the Cape, cleverly displayed with weapons available to the slaves on the one side of the room and weapons available to the settlers on the other three sides.

There is a central courtyard…

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Where you can escape and stretch those energetic little legs…

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And of course the rain poured down again – so everyone into the sentry box…

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Nobody seemed to mind…
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And my children had to clamber on the artefacts…
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Loved the beautiful stone mosaic floor,
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Packed with details…
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And this curious angel attached to an urn… look at its feet… there was lots of discussion!!!
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There were lots of plaques up… to read and peruse…
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And everyone was thrilled to discover one for Thomas Bain, we had learnt all about his father’s roadworks just recently…
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Now I need to say that in our experience Cape Town museums are not exceptionally child friendly – yes of course you can take children there and they are packed with interesting things to look at but there isn’t the overwhelming welcome from the staff and neither is there anything specifically geared towards kids… My kids are oblivious to this and soldier forth, but it is worth bearing in mind if you intend visiting!!! There is definitely no touching, no photographing and absolutely no sitting down to draw something interesting that you might have seen. In other words: Remember what you have seen because the one page pamphlet that you can buy at a minimal cost, is the only thing you can take with you as a reminder of your outing. You do indeed need quite a bit of preparation to visit our museums… Firstly have your story ready, we had read quite a bit about where we were going and what we could expect to see there. Secondly, warn your kids that it is going to be a place of “self-control” but just for a little while and of course we have the Company Gardens to rescue us… straight afterwards.

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These gardens are apparently one of Cape Town’s best kept secrets… whenever we have been they have been quiet, beautiful and an intriguing place to explore!!! Remember to take some coins for the stall holders who sell food for the pigeons and the squirrels, all of which are completely tame, not to mention rotund, and do not need to be fed at all!!!

The gardens are packed with historical statues…

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Old buildings…
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Exotic plants…
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And Giant trees…

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And even a Japanese lantern…
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Really…
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Really!!!
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Lots of place to run around and explore…
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And one of the oldest trees in the Cape…
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A Pear tree that has been there hundreds of years… since the time of Jan Van Riebeek arriving at the Cape of Storms, believe it or not!!!
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More statues…
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Old buildings…
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And a hadeda!!!
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Artefacts..
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And an aviary packed with little birds!!!
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And what’s the time…
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Time for a soda float!!!
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I remember coming here with my dad… just like this…
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And back up the gardens… this must be amazing when the roses are out…

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And out came the sun…
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A quick explore…
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And we were back where we had begun… at the South African Museum.
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So two Iziko museums done and ten to go as we discover our city, by exploring her history…

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Tags: Cape Town · Outings · Saturday Spot

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