The online resource for life in southern Africa. Explore biodiversity from urban, rural, agricultural to home environments, species by species.

More info

Explore the science: Wasps, bees and ants of Africa and Madagascar.

More info

Explore the science: the online resource about  figs, fig wasps and pollination. 

More info

About Iziko Museums of South Africa

Iziko is an isiXhosa word meaning ‘hearth’, traditionally and symbolically the social centre of the home; a place associated with warmth, kinship and ancestral spirits. Here food is prepared and shared, stories are told and knowledge passed from one generation to the next. Similarly, the museums that make up Iziko are spaces for cultural interaction. We are proud to ignite connections between our shared history, our heritage, and each other.

Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko) operates 11 national museums, the Planetarium, the Social History Centre and three collection-specific libraries (art, natural history and social history libraries) in Cape Town:

  • Iziko South African Museum and Planetarium, situated at 25 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens, Cape Town
  • Iziko South African National Gallery in Government Avenue, Company's Garden, Cape Town
  • Iziko Maritime Centre, including the museum ship, SAS Somerset in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
  • Iziko Slave Lodge Museum on the corner of Adderley and Wale Street, Cape Town
  • Iziko William Fehr Collection at the Castle of Good Hope, corner of Buitenkant and Darling Street, opposite the Grand Parade, Cape Town
  • Iziko Michealis Collection at the Old Town House in Greenmarket Square, Cape Town
  • Iziko Rust en Vreugd Museum, 78 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town
  • Iziko Bertram House Museum in Government Avenue, Company's Garden
  • Iziko Koopmans-de Wet House Museum, situated at 35 Strand Street, Cape Town
  • Iziko Groot Constantia house museum and orientation centre on the Groot Constantia estate
  • Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum at 71 Wale Street, Cape Town

The renovated Social History Centre on Church Square provides a state-of-the-art facility to accomodate our Social History collections and library. The Natural History Library is located at the South African Museum, and the Art Library in the Annexe adjacent to the South African National Gallery. Iziko has successfully operated a Mobile Museum outreach programme for the past 13 years.

Iziko is a Schedule 3A Public Entity and an agency of the national Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), bringing together the national museums of the Western Cape under a single governance and leadership structure.

In terms of the Cultural Institutions Act, 1998 (Act No. 119 of 1998), five national museums in the Western Cape - the South African Cultural History Museum, South African Museum, South African National Gallery, the William Fehr Collection and the Michealis Collection - were amalgamated as the Southern Flagship Institution (SFI).

In July 2001, the SFI was officially renamed the Iziko Museums of Cape Town, and in September 2012, renamed Iziko Museums of Cape Town. The name Iziko, an isiXhosa word, meaning 'hearth', embodies the spirit of a transformed institution and our vision of African museums of excellence. The hearth is traditionally and symbolically the social centre of the home; a place associated with warmth, kinship and the spirirts of the ancestors. 

Iziko was thus envisaged as a space for all South Africans to gather, nourish body and soul, and share stories and knowledge passed from one generation to the next. Iziko seeks to celebrate our heritage whilst generating new cultural legacies for future generations and a society that has moved beyond the shackles of the past. 

The three 'flames' in our hearth logo represent the three collections brought together in our museums; Social History (ochre); Art (red); and Natural History (green). These are made accessible to learners and the public through Education and Public Programmes.

Our vision

Iziko museums are African museums of excellence that empower and inspire all people to celebrate and respect our diverse heritage.

Our Mission

To manage and promote Iziko's unique combinations of South Africa's heritage collections, sites and services for the benefit of present and future generations.

Our values

  • Ubuntu - Human kindness
  • Community engagement and social responsiveness
  • Batho Pele - Putting people first
  • Empower and inspire our visitors through education and research
  • Communication & information sharing
  • Develop and sustain mutually beneficial local and international partnerships
  • Professional, dependable and consistent service excellence
  • Mutual trust, respect, equality, honesty & dignity
  • Good and transparent financial governance
  • Teamwork

Iziko values honesty and integrity, and has a zero tolerance for dishonesty.

Orientated goals of the institution


To ensure that Iziko is governed and managed efficiently and effectively to provide an enabling environment for our core functions departments to successfully manage, develop, showcase and transform our collections in terms of our heritage mandate and long-term vision.

Business development

To manage, grow and improve access to our collections, address unethical collection practices improve capacity, productivity and relevance of research. To present diverse public events and develop and improve corporate services to ensure an enabling environment to deliver on our heritage mandate.

Public engagement

To develop and execute an exhibition and public programmes plan which responds to the needs of our diverse audiences through enriching and enabling programmes in the areas of art, natural history and social history. To train and offer teacher enrichment support. To increase our audience through greater awareness of what Iziko has to offer through outreach and special needs programmes, and the development of our website as a knowledge resource.  

Iziko South African Museum. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Iziko South African National Gallery. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Iziko SAS Somerset vessel in the V&A Waterfront.
Iziko Slave Lodge at the foot of the Company's Garden in Cape Town.
The Castle of Good Hope. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
The Old Town House houses the Iziko Michealis collection of predominantly Dutch and Flemish (Golden Age) paintings.
Iziko Rust en Vreugd Museum. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Iziko Bertram House Museum. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Iziko Koopmans-de Wet House.
Iziko Groot Constantia house museum. Iziko also operates the Iziko Groot Constantia Orientation Centre, a must-see for those interested in the history of the estate, in close vicinity to the house.
Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.