New life: Red Location Museum re-opening later this year after repairs
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality announced on Wednesday that the well-known and iconic Red Location Museum in New Brighton will be re-opened this year after the completion of refurbishments to its derelict building.
Once a tourist magnet, the Red Location Museum, closed doors three years ago after residents threatened to assault visitors and staff. Residents were angry over what they claimed were huge amounts of money invested in the facility, while they still lived in RDP houses.
Members of the Red Square precinct met with municipal officials on Tuesday and resolved their differences, which resulted in an agreement to reopen the museum. With the agreement, the municipality also agreed to resolve the housing challenges in the area.
General Manager of Red Location, Mkhululi “Khusta” Ngotyi, said underlying the residents’ grievances was that the houses they have been living in since 1998 had been leaking and some of them are crumbling - now that they have been fixed, the residents see no reason to keep the museum closed.
“It has been a long time since the museum closed down, so we must have a way of resolving this issue. We as the community are giving you as our mayor the right to open the museum again,” said Ngotyi.
At the event, Ngotyi then officially handed over the keys of the museum to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Danny Jordaan.
Jordaan said that the housing problems faced by local residents should never be overlooked. He added that with the museum reopening, there should also be development in the Red Location precinct, which will include a library, music classes and art classes.
“This big deal of houses must not be forgotten the moment we get out of this event. There must be development in that area, for the children and for the adults,” said Jordaan.
General Manager of the Opera House, Monde Ngonyama, however said not everyone was happy with the new houses by the municipality - which are smaller than their former houses, but the municipality has engaged with the community to allow the community members to have a choice.
“Some people who own 48 square metre of houses have a choice of getting it again but at 40 square metre, but we are in the process of fixing certain aspects,” said Ngonyama.
Ngonyama also mentioned that the re-opening of the museum will create employment for residents. They will be appointing eight community members, who will be on an Advisory Committee and will serve from June till December.
The exact date of the re-opening of the museum will only be established after visits by the contractors, who will meet community representatives, but the officials are estimating that it will take three months to repair the building.
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