The Relevance of the Time Travel Concept in South Africa

“It is a serious indictment that our children do not know the men and women who brought about democracy and freedom. We need to work together to tell the story of where we come from and celebrate our heroes.” Minister of Arts and Culture, Hon. Nathi Mthethwa is highlighting the need for platforms to educate the generation of today on our history and how it has shaped the democracy and freedom we enjoy today. It is against this backdrop that the Department of Arts Culture on behalf of the South African government finds an impactful resonance to the relevance of the Time Travel concept.

Rebuild a divided society

The Time Travel method has the potential to help rebuild a divided society, creating reconciliation, nation building and social cohesion. It provides an active participation, creates awareness and interaction with heritage. The benefit of the Time Travel method is to recognize the value of our democracy and freedom, and to understand how events in the past has on today’s society. As Deputy Minister Ms. Mabudafhasi explained during her keynote address at the Time Travel Conference in Pretoria, 3 March 2015 that, “Every community
in South Africa has a story to tell, for example, how they were affected by apartheid and how they fought against it, but it is also the story of how diverse people in terms of race, culture and religion came together to fight the apartheid scourge. These are important stories to tell. These stories transcend time and space.”

Social Cohesion and Nation Building

Time Travel unpacks the concept of social cohesion and nation building and how it is rooted in the experiences and history of South Africa: where we come from as a country, where we are going as a nation and the kind of society we need in the future.

October/ November 2014 and February/ March 2015, eight workshops on the Time Travel method, including Time Travel events and training, were organized in the Gauteng and North West Provinces in South Africa. The Time Travel workshops were held for various heritage institutions/museums and involved local communities, youth and adults. The workshops reflected on the journey on the fight against apartheid and also the democracy we enjoy today and the future society we wish to have.

One learner said after the Time Travel event to 1976 at the former prison at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg: “I can now understand why commemorating our freedom and honouring our history is important”.

Expand the Time Travel Concept

Currently, out of nine Provinces in South Africa, Bridging Ages South Africa has chapters in four. There is a proposal to expand to other provinces. Several Time Travel workshops and events are planned in the near future in various parts of South Africa.

Some words on the conference Time Travel, the Mamelodi massacre 1985:

"It was a deeply spiritual experience. I had goosebumps for most of this experience. It is emblazed in my memory forever. Time Travel is the best way to make history interactive, memorable and honoured". Bontle Mokoka, Constitution Hill

“The Time Travel experience is more profound and long lasting as one impersonate those before us. It assists with charting and forging the concept of social cohesion and reconciliation, and also in trying to find solutions of challenges in our societies.” Matshidiso Faith Motubatsi, Mamelodi community

"I will never forget it. I was really blown away by the debt of the learners´ engagement". Louise Graham, Chief Director, Department of Arts and Culture

Nnaniki Malesa, Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa


Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa, together with Kalmar läns museum and members of Bridging Ages South Africa, organized training sessions in the Time Travel method for five heritage institutions/ museums in Johannesburg and Pretoria and surroundings in 2014 and 2015 – Freedom Park, Constitution Hill, Voortrekker Monument,
Hector Pieterson/ Kliptown Museum and Tlokwe Time Travel Committee. The trained Time Travel team in each of the organizations will now implement the Time Travel method further within their own organization and together.


The training sessions ended with a three-day national conference at Freedom Park, Pretoria, 3-5 March 2015. Organizers of the conference were Department of Arts and Culture and Freedom Park together with Bridging Ages South Africa and Kalmar läns museum with support from the Swedish arts Council and the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria. This was the 4th national Bridging Ages South Africa conference, 110 delegates from all over the country. The conference Time Travel was focused on the Mamelodi massacre in 1985 with severalrepresentatives from Mamelodi community.