Cultural Diversity – The Tzaneen Museum
The Tzaneen Museum was opened on the 24th of June 1995. This small but fascinating museum contains mostly ethnological artefacts of the area which are permanently on display. The displays are mainly reflective of the material culture of the two most important ethnical groups in the area, the Tsonga and the Lowveld Sotho. This museum contains an outstanding collection of pottery, beadwork, as well as utensils like spoons, weapons and drums. It also has the largest collection of pole-carvings in the world. The unique pottery collection covers a period of about 2000 years.
The items in this museum are the private collection of curator, Mr. Jurgen Witt. One of the most exotic exhibits at the museum is the royal drum used in the service of the great grandmother of Rain Queen Modjadji, which dates back to 1850. There is even Stone Age materials which can be viewed on special request, some of the items date back to about 1 million years ago.
A number of contemporary wooden sculptures are also to be seen. Some of these artists became world famous, and their works can also be seen in galleries overseas. Phillip Rikhotso is such an artist, some of his wooden figurines are used in the daily narration of oral traditions in the form of Tsonga tales and stories.
In order to explain the cultures of other African nations, there is material on display from Central African countries. The present focus is on headrests and tobacco utensils material from the Congo. This is also most valuable to students of African history and art.
Displays are changed from time to time and in the past exhibitions have been done about books from the area and even a small display with Egyptian artefact covering a period of 4000 years which attracted many visitors. The remarkable collection found in this museum, makes it a true great local attraction.
This little museum is very well known overseas. No entrance fee is payable, but donations toward the preservation of these irreplaceable artefacts and the maintenance of the building is welcome.
The Tzaneen Museum is open weekdays from 09:00 – 16:00 and Saturdays from 09:00 – 12:00
Latitude: 23° 49′ 32.081″ S
Longitude: 30° 9′ 38.02″ E