Exhibition brings Usakos to audiences in Mozambique

A mobile exhibition about Usakos was launched at the Portuguese Cultural Centre in Maputo, Mozambique on Thursday, 6th July. The exhibition, Usakos: Photographs beyond Ruins. The Old Location Albums, 1920s to 1960s, is a collaboration between Usakos Town Council, the Museums Association of Namibia (MAN), the University of Basel, the University of Namibia and District Six Museum. The mobile exhibition has been travelling throughout South Africa and is now being shown in Maputo before returning to Namibia. The exhibition reflects an exhibition that is already on display at the offices of Usakos Town Council and is part of their vision to transform their building into Usakos Museum when council relocates to its new premises.
The exhibition features photographs from the collections of four women from Usakos: Cecilie //Geises, Wilhelmine Katjimune, Gisela Pieters and Olga //Garoës. The photographs provide an alternative vision of life in the Old Location at Usakos before people were forcefully removed from the centre of town and divided between the new `Black’ township of Hakhaseb and `Coloured’ township of `Erongo-sig’. The historical photographs are complemented by photographs by Paul Grendon which reflect Usakos today and the traces of the past in the ruins.
Ms Saara Ilovu, the Local Economic Development Officer for Usakos said: “There are two mobile versions of the exhibition traveling around the world. So, Usakos (and Namibia) have become better known in places such as France, Germany, America, South Africa and Switzerland. Currently this exhibition is on show in Maputo, whilst the other is being shown in London. I believe that this exhibition has generated a lot of interest in the unique history of our town. When we complete the museum project, I believe that the museum will be “an agent of change for development”. It will encourage visitors to stop in Usakos and, so, create job opportunities. Perhaps, more importantly, it will help strengthen our residents’ pride in their community and give us hope for the future.”
The mobile exhibition will be handed over to the Museums Association of Namibia when it returns to Namibia. The University of Namibia will host the launch of the mobile exhibition in Namibia at 6pm on Wednesday, 23rd August. The launch of the mobile exhibition will be followed by a week long Winter School on exhibition planning and development involving Namibian students and museum workers, and students from Switzerland.
Anyone wishing to obtain more information about the exhibition or the Winter School should contact Ms Saara Ilovu at Usakos Town Council on 081 627 0129, email: silovu@gmail.com or Dr Jeremy Silvester at MAN on 0812805130 or museums@iway.na

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