South Africa’s first hip-hop museum provides educational resources and cutting-edge technology for visitors to immerse themselves in the popular urban youth culture that began in the 1980s in the United States.
Designed to preserve, protect, and promote South African hip-hop history, as well as inspire young people and emerging hip-hop enthusiasts to venture into the craft, the museum is located inside Museum Africa near Mary Fitzgerald Square in the Newtown cultural precinct.
It was founded in 2016 by Osmic Menoe, its current director, with the aim to highlight the work done by South African hip-hop artists between the 1980s and 1990s.
“This museum is mostly for education because tourists and young people come here a lot, so it helps them understand the culture better, what the importance of hip-hop is, and where it came from,” says Menoe.
The museum features an ultramodern design, with sleek, minimalist aesthetics and high-quality furniture, including a recording studio equipped with expensive, top-of-the-line equipment.
In addition to showcasing hip-hop artefacts, stories, videos, and interactive screens on the walls, the museum also plans to have statues, holograms, and other advanced technology on display.
Menoe says the museum is primarily for educational purposes, helping visitors understand the culture, history, and importance of hip-hop. He adds that visitors to the museum can enter for free.
“We want to cater globally, and we want internationals to come here and be amazed and excited to be in the museum. We welcome everyone to come and experience this space once we’ve had a public launch,” he adds.
Besides hosting the annual Hennessey Back to the City International Festival, the museum will also hold workshops on topics such as distribution, legalities in the music industry, and design.
“The space will be opened for a large number of people, encouraging the whole nation to witness it. The hip-hop museum is an exceptionally reliable place to learn about hip-hop’s history and to be very curious and excited about its future,” he explains.
Menoe hopes the museum will inspire other genres to create their own cultural spaces, such as a Kwaito Museum or a television museum, to showcase and preserve their respective histories.