Visitors steal historic pieces from museum

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It has come to light that some unscrupulous visitors to the multi-million-dollar Independence Memorial Museum in the capital have been stealing historic equipment such as universal serial bus (USB) from the monitors.
The museum, constructed by a North Korean company, is installed with monitors on the different floors, which tell the exact historic events, as depicted on the walls, during the liberation struggle, such as the Cassinga massacre.
In an interview with New Era, the museum’s head, Esther Moambola-Goagoses, confirmed such unlawful acts, saying they were forced to remove the monitors in order to beef up security at the gallery.
“People were stealing out the USBs, which contain historic information. We removed them until such time we have fixed the monitors so that they are not removable anymore.” She said they have also removed Ipads until they find someone to fit them in such a way that they cannot be moved.
However, she said most of the monitors have since been replaced and securely installed. She urged visitors not to touch the items on display.
She could, however, not provide the value and number of items lost thus far.
Regarding the flow of visitors, she noted that both locals and foreigners have been flocking to the museum to see and learn the harsh conditions freedom fighters endured during the liberation struggle both inside and outside Namibia.
In particular, she said busloads of learners from different schools countrywide often visit the gallery. Adding that besides the busy inflow of people during Cassinga Day, the museum was also full to capacity last week during the 70th anniversary of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY).
Cassinga Day is a national holiday in remembrance of the painful events of May 4, 1978, when more than 600 Namibians in exile were killed during a South African Defence Force attack on the Swapo refugee camp at Cassinga in southern Angola.
“The inflow of visitors is overwhelming. Even during the international youth summit, which was held here, we had about three buses of young people from different countries,” she noted.
The Independence Memorial Museum has recorded a steady flow of visitors since it opened its doors to the public on March 21 last year with an impressive 200 to 600 people – locals and foreigners – a day.
The museum has three major floors displaying themes of the colonial repression, liberation war and the road to independence.
There are special galleries that portray the 1904-1908 Herero and Nama genocide as well as the Cassinga massacre on May 4, 1978.
The museum has replicas of Robben Island prison cell uniforms as well as the plates and spoons that were used by the prisoners. There is a leather bag, which was given to Dr Sam Nujoma, the Founding Father of the Namibian Nation, by Chief Hosea Kutako to carry his belongings when he crossed into exile in the 1960s to find a solution for Namibian independence.
The museum is open every day, including on public holidays, from 09h30 to 18h00.

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