Durban Local History Museums recently celebrated the fifth year of their Passbook Competition with an exhibition at the Durban Art Gallery. The exhibition opening was a huge success due to the hard work of the Durban Art Gallery staff, the Passbook Competition Committee, and the dedicated sponsors and partners of the Passbook Competition.

Jenny Stretton, curator of the Durban Art Gallery, welcomed the guests at the opening. Ms Tebogo Mzizi, Senior Manager of Libraries and Heritage, gave the key note address in which she expressed gratitude to the sponsors and partners of the competition, as well as to the various schools that had participated in the competition over the years. Ms Mzizi was proud to announce that eThekwini has recently been recognised by the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a ‘Literary City’, a great achievement which shows the improvement in the literacy status of the city. Other speakers included Mrs Marilyn Dwarika of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, and Mr Horst Achtzehn, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany. The eThekwini Communications Department was also represented, as well as media house, Independent Newspapers.

The Passbook Competition ties museum education in with history, social sciences and arts and culture (as per Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements, CAPS). As part of the competition learners from different schools from grades 4-11 are expected to visit three out of six participating heritage institutions. Intermediate and senior learners with special educational needs also take part in the competition. The learners make grade-specific submissions ranging from posters, collages, reconstructed artefacts, to poems and essays. A new feature, the ‘Abasha Bash!’, was added as a performing arts component of the exhibition in 2016.

As part of the five year celebrations, a photo album was produced containing examples of the learners’ work over the years, together with information about the competition. The exhibition covered different aspects of the competition which were creatively displayed in the gallery. The reconstructed artefacts were exhibited in the showcases, while the colourful collages and posters were displayed on the walls around the room. Screens in the corners of the room were used to show photographs and videos of the performing arts component of the competition.

Photographs and text by Ayanda Ngcobo, Museum Officer, Durban Local History Museums

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