The Ditsobotla municipality in North-West kicks hard against the FAK’s plan to place the precious objects that remained in the agricultural museum in Lichtenburg after a theft and a fire in safe custody.
The FAK has been in discussion with the municipality for more than three months after a fire in a locomotive, which forms part of the exhibition at the agricultural museum, shed light on the overall state of affairs at this museum.
The FAK feels strongly about the objects being hastily placed in safekeeping to prevent further destruction, damage and theft of our precious heritage. The FAK launched a petition to make this plan possible.
In July, the municipality already stated its opposition to the relocation of any museum objects pertinently to the FAK.
According to Mpho Molapisi, the museum’s curator, the objects cannot simply be moved.
“There are certain museum standards and procedural guidelines that must be met before objects can simply be moved,” Molapisi replied to an inquiry from RNews.
According to Molapisi, the museum and the objects inside belong to everyone in the community and not “just to a certain group of privileged people”.
“Those in the community who damage the museum and steal objects do not realize that the museum (and objects) also belong to them. They must be made aware of it.”
Molapisi says removing the objects will also interfere with tourism growth, which the municipality and province are striving for. “The museum is a tourist destination and removing the objects will also drive away the tourists.”
According to Molapisi, the focus should instead be on restoring and renovating the museum to attract such tourists.
“And that’s why I’m scrambling to get my hands on financial support to restore the museum. I don’t sit back and do nothing about it. It is not about the municipality not wanting to give the money for it. The municipality has financial challenges.
“I also keep the municipality informed of what is going on at the museum and report all cases of theft and vandalism.”
Molapisi says he has already applied to, among others, the provincial government, department of sport, art and culture and the national heritage council for funding to renovate the museum.
RNews reported earlier that the FAK will seek legal advice on what the next step is to force the municipality into action regarding the shameful dismantling of the precious cultural heritage of Lichtenburg and its museums.
The FAK has written several letters to the municipality in an attempt to prevent further damage and is demanding feedback. The FAK learned of theft, vandalism and sheer mismanagement which are the order of the day.
Barry Müller, culture coordinator of the FAK, says responsibilities in the municipalities are “thrown around”, because no one wants to be accountable.
“New acting managers are continuously being appointed at the municipality and it is clear that the state of affairs in the town cannot be managed at municipal level,” said Müller.