Time Travel project in Kliptown, Soweto, South Africa
Everything has its time. Indeed, for the first time in Gauteng province in South Africa a Time Travel pilot project was launched on the eighteenth of October 2012 in Kliptown, Soweto.
The focus was on the Freedom Charter, one of the most important documents in South African history and the basis for the constitution of today. The document was adopted in Kliptown in 1955 by the Congress of the People, a group of 3000 persons from the whole of South Africa, and in conflict with the apartheid government of the time.
The training program consisted of a workshop that took place in the morning at Kliptown Open Air Museum and followed by the Time Travel event in a baptist church in Kliptown in the afternoon. The workshop shed some light on the history of Kliptown, the Freedom Charter and on the significance of the Time Travel method.
Time Travel, Freedom Charter 1955
In the afternoon the participants proceeded to the nearby W.W.Brown Baptist Church, where the Time Travel took place. The church was one of the public sites utilized in 1955 by the community to prepare for the adoption of the Freedom Charter. Creatively, we travelled back in time to 1955 in June just two weeks before the main event of the adoption of the Freedom Charter. Community members and political organizations leaders gathered at the WW Brown Baptist church to compile a list of demands, which would be forwarded to the Congress of the People secretary.
The participants in the Time Travel could choose between four of the clauses in the Freedom Charter – land ownership, mineral wealth, education or equal rights - and express the content of the clause the way they wanted – in some sentences, on a placard, drawing an illustration, writing or poem or a song. The groups were very active and many creative ideas were presented to the audience.
This empirical method of learning left a memorable mark in the minds of both young and old participants, more so to those who were born in post-apartheid South Africa. The Kliptown Open Air Museum strategic educational programmes are well underway and it is hoped that in the near future Time Travels would be introduced to South African schools in Soweto.
Mpho Kumeke, Education Officer
Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum and Kliptown Open Air Museum