The interactive //hapo museum at Freedom Park outside Pretoria is a place for South Africans to consolidate and preserve their freedom heritage in an all-encompassing and inclusive manner, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said at the museum’s opening in April 2013.
“//hapo”, Khoi for “a dream”, derives from the Khoi proverb “//hapo ge //hapo tama /haohasib dis tamas ka i bo”, which means “a dream is not a dream until it is shared by the entire community”.
Motlanthe said the concept of //hapo was instrumental for inculcating a culture of unity and democracy among South Africans.
He said a common consciousness had to be developed among all South Africans, such that the country’s national symbols, including its flags and national anthem, reflected the socio-economic development of the country.
“Understanding this complexity, it is important to develop spaces for people to tune into their consciousness, providing them with the space to freely fulfil themselves and to cultivate an identity through guaranteeing their freedoms of expression, religion, thought, conscience, belief, opinion and association.”
The //hapo museum tells the story of the southern African region dating back 3.6- billion years in an interactive manner. “//hapo is a centre of interactive learning, in particular of learning about the journey to peace in our land,” Motlanthe said.
Along the way, this journey progressing through the early wars of dispossession, such as Khoikhoi-Dutch war in the 1500s; the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in the Cape in 1652; the Third War of Dispossession between the Khoisan and colonial authorities in the 1800s; the South African War, previously known as Anglo Boer War, and the anti-apartheid struggle – all of which help define the freedoms South Africans enjoy today.
“Generations to come will use this centre to learn about their origins and therefore understand the uniqueness of being a South African citizen and [of a] people who come from diverse quarters of the world but are despite this united in diversity,” Motlanthe said.
“Certainly this centre will allow us to deal with all that is good and bad about our past, conscious not to dwell on it or repeat its mistakes while at the same time being steadfast in drawing important lessons to unite us as we foster a new and common national heritage.”
The narration of the country’s history in this way would help South Africans to appreciate “that the freedom we enjoy today is no exclusive preserve of any one social grouping but a proud heritage of all South Africans,” Motlanthe said.
It would also help to “free our minds from the bounds of mental imprisonment, allowing us the necessary singular focus to tackling the socio-economic conditions of poverty, unemployment and inequality that constrain the realisation of a better life for all South Africans”.